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The Vancouver Whitecaps Best Eighteen (Nov 26th 2018)

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MLS: Sporting KC at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Many moons ago, when I was just a wee lad who read Eighty Six Forever as apposed to writing for it, there was a series by Benjamin Massey that looked at what the Whitecaps’ best lineup was on that date and would be updated as major additions were made. As someone who loves speculating endlessly about possible lineups and signings I was naturally all over this. So with the Whitecaps about to go in a bold new direction (at least we hope that’s what they’re doing) I thought now would be the perfect time to bring it back. The rules are simple; I can only use players who are currently under contract. This means no speculated signings and no players who the Whitecaps own the rights of but aren’t technically under contract. With that in mind, in my opinion, this is currently the best eighteen (well seventeen as that’s how many players are under contract):

Subs: Juarez, De Jong, Hurtado, Colyn, Mezquida, Norman Jr.

Lineup notes:

Yes I know Kendall Waston has one foot out the door but he’s under contract and there is literally nobody else.

De Jong and Levis are pretty close from a statistical perspective (the lines are very fine indeed) but Levis retains possession better and I like that so i’ve gone with him.

Hurtado was ahead of Blondell at the end of the season but you have to figure there will be some attempt to rehabilitate the Venezuelan in the hopes that the ‘Caps can make some of that transfer fee back

David Norman Jr. could have been picked in either Baldisimo or Teibert’s spot but I think Baldisimo’s better range of passing and Teibert’s experience just edge those two ahead.

General thoughts:

Obviously this team needs some work. There aren’t even enough players to have a full bench and there’s only one goalkeeper for starters. However the team is very young and very Canadian so there’s something to work with. Looking at the lineup I think you need; At least one but probably two forwards, at least two but possibly three midfielders, a centre back, possibly a left back and a goalkeeper. This means adding anywhere between five and eight players who need to be brought in to be a part of the starting XI. This isn’t even accounting for depth players. Fortunately the ‘Caps have 13 open roster spots (not accounting for players like Waston who will probably move on) and most likely have all 3 DP slots open so there should be room to do that.

The team is only really a skeleton at this phase but this is a decent base from which to work. All of the players seem like they’d fit reasonable well into an aggressive pressing system, though most probably won’t be starting on opening day. I will say that the dynamics of that front three are interesting to me. Blondell had a terrible season but he showed some chemistry with Reyna in preseason. The two combined on four goals in a preseason friendly with LAFC. If Blondell is going to recapture his form then Reyna will probably be a big part of it. On the right Theo Bair is an interesting prospect. His finishing still needs to develop but he has some skill, is huge, and is very quick for his size. If he were to play against a fullback like Jordan Harvey, someone who’s a bit smaller and not the quickest, he could do some real damage. I’m not saying the Whitecaps should start the year with this front three but it is rather interesting.

That’s all for now. I hope to bring you many exciting updates between now and March.