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The Vancouver Whitecaps Best Eighteen (December 13th 2018)

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Things have changed rapidly for the Vancouver Whitecaps over the past three days. With that in mind it’s time to look at what the best eighteen is! Spoiler alert: It’s pretty bad. But that’s ok. There is a ton of cap space, all three designated player spots are open, the Whitecaps are swimming in both TAM and GAM, and that’s not even mentioning the Davies money. When the transfer window opens up things have the potential to get very spicy indeed. But for now there’s this horror show:

Subs: Crépeau, de Jong, Rose, Hurtado, PC, Norman, Colyn.

Spare Parts: Melvin, Juarez.

Lineup notes:

I have MacMath as the starter but that’s only on the basis of being more experienced. I don’t think his spot as the starter is assured.

PC could potentially slot in as a left back but i’m not really sure if Dos Santos wants to use him there. He has some qualities that Dos Santos has said he’s looking for in fullbacks but apparently he had some shocking outings there for Orlando. On the other hand Orlando was such a dumpster fire that it may not be fair to judge players based on how they performed there. He also played quite well as an attacking winger in USL. I have no idea how MDS plans to use him but in the meantime i’m leaving Levis as the first choice fullback. I reserve the right to change my mind on this when we see how the team looks in preseason.

The distant sounds of horrified screams could be filled by either de Jong or Norman. De Jong’s outings at centre back have been less than inspiring so far and Norman was tried there in preseason under Robbo but has limited experience in that position. I am about as certain as I am of anything that some centre backs are on the way to replace Waston.

Andy Rose has been brought in but I don’t really rate him ahead of any of the three midfielders from last time. He could slot in for Baldisimo but I rate Baldisimo extremely highly and I think he has a lot more talent than Rose. Swapping Rose in for Teibert would be change for change’s sake, and Rose doesn’t have the creativity of Felipe.

Speaking of Felipe, I noticed in his Sportsnet interview that MDS mentioned they were looking for just about every position except a #10. This may just be down to MDS being put on the spot but I suspect that Felipe may be in the first team plans as the #10 in 2019. I don’t mind this at all. Felipe was the second best chance creator amongst MLS centre mids in 2018. This didn’t translate into assists but if he’d gotten a bit luckier with people putting those chances away then I think he’d be viewed a lot more favourably. His defensive work, though much maligned, is actually not that bad. He makes a lot of tackles and interceptions but is dribbled past a lot. As a pressing #10 who will have players to cover him he should do well. I think Felipe is going to have a big year in 2019 and the narrative that he was bad in 2018 was hugely overblown. I look forward to someone writing a piece in May about Felipe’s “bounce back season” because then I can respond “rebound from what? Being good?”

As I said last time, the forward line has some interesting dynamics but it will probably look a lot better with a DP or two added to it.