Earlier today, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced the addition of English/Swiss Right Back Scott Sutter.
Sutter, 32, appeared in 51 matches over the last two seasons for Orlando City SC and prior to that, spent 14 seasons in the Swiss Super League for Grasshopper Club Zürich, BSC Young Boys, and FC Zürich. Notably, Sutter made 65 appearances in UEFA Cup and Club competitions while in Switzerland and also appeared twice for the Swiss National Team.
Sutter signed with the club as a free agent, and as a US Green Card holder, he will not occupy an international roster spot.
While nothing about Sutter’s statistics jump off the page (four goals and six assists over the last two seasons in MLS), Orlando City fans on the whole have been sad to see him go, which might come as a surprise to some, with Orlando being rather shambolic defensively over the past few seasons.
Great signing for you guys. He was one of the few bright spots for Orlando last year, so we had to make sure we promptly got rid of him. Happy for @scott_sutter tho— Eric J (@Eric__Jones) January 30, 2019
For greater insight on the exact type of player the Whitecaps can expect this season, we reached out to our colleagues at The Mane Land in Orlando for a scouting report:
Strengths: Very good in possession, looks to move the ball upfield with either his feet or through passing rather than a back-pass, not afraid to shoot or get to the end line and cross, decent defensively, not overly prone to lapses (or at least no more than any other RB at the MLS level).
Weaknesses: His pace is average, crosses are sometimes inaccurate, had difficulty staying healthy in 2018.
The Mane Land also noted that Orlando’s biggest issues defensively over the past two seasons have been at CB and LB, as well as a lack of defensive midfielders, rather than any fault on Sutter’s or any other RB’s part. (Thanks again to The Mane Land for their report).
Given what we know about Sutter, the question remains - how exactly will he fit into MDS’s plans this season? The suggestion from JJ Adams at training today was that Sutter would slot in behind Jake, at least for the moment...
Just finished another cold-as-hell #VWFC practice. Chatted with new RB Scott Suter, MDS, among others. MDS was very high on Jake, and seemed to indicate Suter would slot in behind him for now. But this is an extremely meritocratic coach we’re talking about ...— J.J. Adams (@TheRealJJAdams) January 30, 2019
Looking at how they performed on a purely statistical basis last season, I tend to agree. Let’s take a look at Sutter’s and Nerwinski’s passing and defensive stats side-by-side from last season.
While Nerwinski certainly looks to be the more active player defensively, part of this may be down to his rambunctious style which often forces him to act in recovery after an attacking run into the final third. Also, while Sutter was more accurate overall with his passes, I would suggest that Nerwinski has a similar aptitude to Sutter for creating scoring chances, if not a better one.
On the whole, these two players are quite comparable, with Nerwinski providing a bit more of a risk-reward option, while Sutter might provide more in terms of positioning and defensive soundness.
Overall, it makes sense for the Whitecaps to favour the 24 year old Nerwinski over the almost 33 year old Sutter, though Sutter looks as though he could provide valuable depth if need be.
It should also be noted that the signing of Sutter has essentially ended the possibility of the Whitecaps signing young Canadian International Juan Cordova. After rumours started a couple of weeks ago, it appears as though negotiations (as reported by AFTN) hit a snag:
Wrapping up the 'Caps tweets for a bit. An update on the Juan Cordova transfer rumours we talked about before. Deal not exactly dead in the water, but it's a deal of two parts and there would appear to be a big sticking point with that second part as things currently stand #VWFC— AFTN (@aftncanada) January 23, 2019
In addition, it was reported that Whitecaps Brass wasn’t exactly thrilled when Cordova agreed to an interview on TSN 1040 radio, and evidently, the club decided to go in a different direction.
That being said, what are your thoughts on the signing? Who will be the Whitecaps starting RB this season and would you rather have seen Cordova signed, or do you still believe in Nerwinski?