It is Friday morning, Caps fans, and that alone is reason to celebrate. But also cause for celebration is the fact that Vancouver made their first roster moves of the offseason last night.
There were few real surprises in the batch of moves, which I’m guessing everyone has digested by this point. In case you haven’t, here are the players who will not be returning:
Here you go... The dearly #VWFC departed... GK Sean Melvin, CB Brendan McDonough, Scott Sutter, Brett Levis, Lass, Joaquin Ardaiz and Anthony Blondell staying with CD Huachipato.— J.J. Adams (@TheRealJJAdams) October 17, 2019
No real surprises here, although Melvin and McDonough are a bummer because they could have been useful pieces—if given more developmental playing time.
McDonough yet another warning cry for the dangers of not having a proper development squad! The Boys need a league to play in!!! #VWFC— Samuel Rowan (@samuel_rowboat) October 17, 2019
Scott Sutter was not especially noteworthy during his time in Vancouver but seemed like an all-around good dude, who ran a cool program supporting the BC Children’s Hospital and who was a competent replacement for Jake Nerwinski at right back. No reason the Caps can’t find a similar level player on the open market or in the Superdraft though.
Levis is tragic for those of us who remember his USL days, when he was absolutely untouchable on his day. The tail end of the season, when injuries forced MDS into playing him a few times, was an unfortunate reminder that he is more CPL-level than MLS quality at this point. Injuries will always make this a big what-if but letting him go and find a better opportunity at a CPL team is certainly the move here.
Same for Levis i'd say. It's to bad people didn't get to see him before his injuries because he was a beast in USL. Alas I just don't think he's consistent enough for MLS at this point #VWFC— Caleb Wilkins (@wilkins_caleb24) October 17, 2019
Lass and Ardaiz ... well, to put it bluntly I would fly to Vancouver only to drive them to the airport. I had high hopes for Lass when he got here and looked genuinely solid through his first couple matches. But he seemed to fall off a cliff and clearly wasn’t pulling his weight in training either to convince MDS to give him more minutes. He’s the prototype of MDS’ lament over not finding guys who could fit in MLS.
Ardaiz largely had a similar trajectory. The fact that this is the second straight loan that he has fallen flat on is a sign that his U-20 performances for Uruguay are a bit of an aberration. Also dogged by attitude issues, Ardaiz was probably the biggest swing and miss of the last offseason.
And Anthony Blondell is still alive?
There are a few guys under contract still that I suspect will be joining the above list of players. Jon Erice, for instance, seems to be on the way out after MDS made some pretty clear remarks where he alluded to Erice not being MLS quality and needing someone who could help the midfield keep its shape better and be more dynamic in responding to counter attacks. Part of me wonders if the Spaniard has some solid value as trade bait, given that there was a period of time where Erice looked respectable in midfield. It might be enough to get a team in need of midfield depth to take a bite and send us a fair few Garber Bucks.
Finally, there is the ongoing debate over Yordy Reyna. I’m not going to touch that here but I encourage you to wander over the AtlantisB’s breakdown of the roster moves for a more thorough discussion of whether the Peruvian will be making an appearance at BC Place next season. I hope he does, for what its worth, but the jury is decidedly out. Picking up his option makes the most sense in terms of allowing the Caps to get something of value for him.
With all of this being said, I guess the offseason is officially underway. A few more Is and Ts need to be dotted with respect to picking up the loan-to-buy deals on Michaell Chirinos and Erik Godoy. The club is similarly still negotiating with Donneil Henry, who I expect to be back in a Whitecaps uniform next season. And PC Giro could stick around as well, as I’m guessing the club is trying to bring him back on a cheaper deal, to give the club some cover at both the LB and LW positions.
Now that we’ve got you foaming at the mouth with offseason intrigue, let’s pivot to some of the links, eh?
Shameless Self Promotion
We have the roundup of the contract option moves here and here. The latter story has some quotes from Tosaint Ricketts, who will be sticking around in the “Erik Hurtado break glass in case of emergency” role. Yours truly also takes a way-too-early look at the Caps’ odds of finding a useful piece in the Superdraft.
Best of the Rest
The first batch of MLS playoff games kick of this weekend. A quadruple header takes place tomorrow, with Atlanta United/New England, Seattle/FC Dallas, Toronto FC/DC United and RSL/Portland all on the docket. Philadelphia/NYRB and Minnesota/LA Galaxy finish off the weekend on Sunday. Lots to dig into if you’ve been missing MLS like I have!
The NWSL playoffs similarly start this weekend and our SB Nation colleagues have the storylines to watch there
Ike Opara proved he is still the gold standard for MLS centerbacks, taking home the MLS Defender of the Year award Thursday
Widespread protest in Catalonia following the jailing of pro-independence politicians have forced the postponement of El Classico for December