With the miserable 2019 Major League Soccer season behind them, it is time for the Vancouver Whitecaps, and Marc Dos Santos, to look ahead to 2020. Today, they announced their first official roster moves of the off-season.
The club has exercised options on right back Jake Nerwinski, and forwards Yordy Reyna and Tosaint Ricketts. Sam wrote extensively on Ricketts’ new contract, so I will focus on the other two.
There are a lot of question marks around Jake Nerwinski and Yordy Reyna. We will get into these more in-depth over the coming weeks in our season wrap-up, but in general, there are questions as to whether they will be here in 2020.
With the club announcing that they have picked up the player options for 2020, it sounds like they should be a part of the plans heading forward. Of course, anything can happen between now and the start of the season, but it is likely that each of the players were spoken to and asked how they saw their future and whether they wanted to remain with the club.
While I was initially a fan of Nerwinski, I have been disappointed in the lack of progress he has made since his rookie season. I now question whether he is the long-term solution at right back for Vancouver. This is brought further into focus with the strong (better?) play we saw from Erik Godoy at the position to end the season. Jake certainly has value as a backup or as a trade chip in MLS, but I am not sold currently that he should be the starter next season.
Many of us have been wondering of late whether Reyna would leave at the end of this season. Not because the club would not want him, but rather that he would like to get out of dodge, as the saying goes. We all knew that there was a club option for 2020, but we have seen how those can play out, especially here in Vancouver with the Camilo fiasco in 2014. It is possible that Reyna has respected the contract option but has expressed a desire to move on behind closed doors, or we could all be reading too much into things. If he has expressed a desire to move on, it is nice that the club will be able to acquire some transfer fee in exchange.
Today’s announcement does lead me to increase my ‘probability of Reyna’ number, but for some fans that may not be a god thing. There appears to be a divide among fans as to whether Reyna is ‘good’ or not. Personally, I am a fan and feel that this club is a lot better with him in it rather than him gone. Although, I do question whether the club’s on-field plan going forward suits Reyna’s playing style. Again though, more on that in the coming weeks.
In addition to the three options exercised, MDS said that they are continuing discussions with Victor “PC” Giro, Doneil Henry, and loanees Erik Godoy and Michaell Chirinos. Of those not picked up were Sean Melvin (expect him to be in CPL shortly), Brendan McDonough, Scott Sutter (that is a shame), and Brett Levis. Meanwhile, Lass Bangoura and Joaquin Ardaiz have returned to their clubs, while Anthony Blondell is no longer a Whitecaps player, with Chilean side CD Huachipato exercising their option to buy the on-loan player.
Like last season, I expect a lot of moves from the Vancouver Whitecaps this off-season. However, MDS has acknowledged that he had far too much turnover last season, so I do not expect a complete overhaul again. Despite the poor season, the Whitecaps do have some solid pieces. Personally, I think they need 3 to 5 starters and maybe a depth piece or two (as previous starters would become depth) to be a serious threat. Hopefully they can find the right pieces. Right now, they have 18 players under contract.
What are your thoughts on these initial moves? What do you see being the next moves as we enter the speculation season?