The 2018 Major League Soccer season may still be going strong, but for the Vancouver Whitecaps, the offseason is in full effect. After analyzing our preseason predictions in the first two parts of this series, we now delve into examining the season that was. We start by getting the assessment of the season from our writers and hand out a few expected and unexpected awards.
1. It certainly wasn’t the season that Caps fans hoped for, but what were your thoughts on the season that was?
CWilkins: It was, perhaps, the most demoralizing season I’ve witnessed in my time as a fan. In 2011 at least there was the excuse of being an expansion team, in 2016 at least it seemed like a blip amidst a general upward trend, but this year was just awful. I had been waiting for it be over since about May
Samuel_Rowan: Disappointing obviously, but overall, I think it will be a vital step in the growth and development of the club. Also, I think we should be incredibly grateful for having witnessed the growth of a talent as special as Phonzie.
IanJones: Given the expectations built upon the success from the previous two seasons, the flourishing of Alphonso Davies’ talent, and Carl Robinson hyping it as the best roster he’s ever built, an absolute waste that descended into absolute pettiness (or only recently allowed itself to reveal itself).
AtlantisB: Meh. I was optimistic heading into the season, excited for the club to prove pundits wrong. They didn’t. Worst yet, they made me apathetic. Halfway thro6the season, I found myself not caring. This was in part because the club was boring to watch and the result was unpredictable.
2. With it being a fairly disappointing season, what positives do you take?
Samuel_Rowan: Pretty similar to the first question: the play of Davies, a chance for a new start in 2019, also some promising players are emerging at the youth level.
IanJones: That the only way it could be worse is if we played as bad as San Jose 100% of the time? In all honesty, there were moments of brilliance that could be carried forward, but with a new coach and so much (assumed) roster turnover perhaps the true positives are knowing that possibilities are nearly boundless and this season couldn’t possibly repeat itself.
AtlantisB: The dynamic play of Davies, that he is headed to my fav non-mls club, and the large amount of money that can HOPEFULLY be put to good use by Dos Santos (I didnt trust Robbo to use it wisely), the progress of Ritchey, and hope that he will be here next season, and that the club has a GOOD chance to turn things around next season.
CWilkins: The ‘Caps managed to get a lot of money for Alphonso Davies which means there is potential for (though no assurances of) a rebuild that will take the club in a new and glorious direction
3. The season certainly ended with a bang! What is your take on the media scrum that ended it all?
IanJones: The dumpster fire we all needed. It was a horror show of a breakup, where everyone threw everyone else’s laundry off the balcony. Even Brek Shea got involved in the most Break Shea-iest way possible. It was particularly hilarious to watch the account of Avid Sports & Entertainment Group lose its G-D mind on Twitter. But in spite of how cathartic it was (for the players and the fans), it’s telling how nearly everyone on the team couldn’t address their respective, pent-up hostilities until the last possible moment.
AtlantisB: Hard to say. While it was good to see players admit what we all knew, but didn’t fully understand how bad it was. But, concern that there is discuss that it was, somewhat, staged. Most importantly, I was so disappointed just how out of touch Lenarduzzi appears, and how quickly the front office is to throw others under the bus to save themselves. It is either that or that the front office has little role in this club, and thus, why are they here?
CWilkins: I have a hard time reacting to it with anything other than bemused disbelief. I suppose it does explain quite a bit in regards to the team seeming so mentally weak.
Samuel_Rowan: Not surprising that those tensions existed, but definitely surprised at the way everything was aired out in public. Marinovic and Teibert being so outspoken was particularly surprising.
MVP: Davies (x4)
AtlantisB: Davies, duh. Most people would say Kamara second, but I am going to go with Reyna. With his off-season issues, there were a lot of questions. He started SLOW but really came on down the stretch.
IanJones: Alphonso Davies. The kid was dynamite and contributed at both ends of the pitch.
Least Valuable Player:
CWilkins: Anthony Blondell. Anytime you’re paying 1 million per goal that’s not great value.
Samuel_Rowan: Efrain Juarez.
IanJones: Efrain Juarez. It’s telling when you’re a marquee signing that can’t make the bench during a playoff push.
AlantisB: Juarez is the obvious choice. Second goes to Shea. He started off so strong but as soon as the locker room was divided, he checked out. Sadly, that is Shea’s MO.
IanJones: Russell Teibert, in so much that we knew the younger players werent’t getting a fair shake, so it was great to see how well he ran with the opportunity put before him.
Samuel_Rowan: Erik Hurtado
AtlantisB: Can we give this to Davies? We expected a good season, but NO ONE expected what they got.
CWilkins: Probably Doneil Henry. I know he had some awful moments but taken as a whole he was very good this season. I didn’t expect him to do so well.
Best Teammate Inflicted Injury: Aaron Maund
Best Own-Goal: Doneil Henry
Reo-Coker Award (Best Self-Inflicted Injury): Doneil Henry
Best Bonehead Moment: The de-shirting of Cristian Techera
There were many honorable mentions for this one!
Worst Defensive Work-Rate: Dane Brekken “Brek” Shea (I just love that full name)
Most Hairstyles: Erik Hurtado
Best Jumpers: Carl Robinson (RIP to the “Robbo’s Jumper” twitter account)
Most curious Addition: Marvin Emnes
Most Upside: Felipe. The guy has unquestionable talent, but unfortunately went through an extremely tough personal period this season. Hopefully, when the weight of the world isn’t on his shoulders, we’ll see that spark in the midfield next year.
Most Poachable: Assume for a moment that the Whitecaps could get their hands on any player made available in the Expansion Draft, who would be worth poaching (within reason)? I say Walker Zimmerman from LAFC. A big, young centerback with lots of MLS experience, a contract that runs out this year, and is assuredly familiar with Dos Santos.
There you have it. A look at our first three questions and our award winners. Let us know your answers in the comments, by copying below and filling it in.
1. Thoughts on the Season?
2. What are the Positives of 2018?
3. What is your Take on the Season-Ending Media Scrum?