Good Friday morning Caps’ fans. Well, we promised earlier this week that we were entering the thick of silly season and there has been little disappointment.
In a matter of hours, the Caps will unveil their choice for technical director after a search that took much longer than I think all of us anticipated or would have liked. The announcement will be a big sign of where the team will be going this offseason and beyond.
In the meantime, there are rumblings of a few personnel decisions. The biggest one dropped last night and it is confirmation of what many believed and feared for some time: Donneil Henry is likely to depart the club, with reports swirling that he will be heading to an Asian side in an effort to make way for a bevy of new DP signings.
Something seemed to change in the last month or so on Henry, not sure if he fit exactly what MDS wanted in a CB, but still a bit surprising to see him heading off to Asia. #VWFC https://t.co/ZaGviH0mbg— Samuel Rowan (@samuel_rowboat) November 15, 2019
This prompts more questions than answers about what the tactical strategy will be going forward (no more 3-5-2!) and also ratchets up the importance of retaining Erik Godoy, lest the Caps will be stuck with just two MLS-quality starting CBs. Obviously the goal of cutting Henry loose is to replace him with a DP centerback, although I have questioned the wisdom of this in the past and continue to do so. Retaining Godoy would put a little less pressure on whomever they sign to integrate right away and would make the defensive depth a little more palatable. The upshot from this deal, for both Henry and the Caps, is that his departure to a side in Asia could command a sizable transfer fee and perhaps a sizable salary for Henry in his new destination.
The other bit of transfer gossip is the likely departure of Michaell Chirinos, with the Caps set to insist on another lone move for the Honduran—something which he does not want, according to reports out of Honduras.
This move is equally disappointing after Chirinos’ strong close to last year. Most all of us here at 86 Forever were hoping he would return, believing his strong underlying metrics from last season would be a springboard to a key role in the attack next season. I get in part the logic of arranging another loan deal, as Chirinos’ sample size last season was short and it would kick the can down the road in terms of shelling out a transfer fee.
But at the end of the day, loan deals (which admittedly did benefit the club this year, as they will be able to cut loose a couple underperforming players quite easily) are not sustainable. At some point the club will have to commit to which players are going to be a part of building a successful team long term and which will not. Loans aren’t always a bad deal for MLS clubs but using them as a key component of your roster building process seems questionable.
The fact that Chirinos is unlikely to return creates more questions than answers. It means there are fewer players than ever who can fit MDS’ preferred 4-3-3 formation, meaning the team will likely be trotting out a new tactical approach next year. While it is entirely possible that Chirinos is replaced by a DP-level attacker, the fact is he would have been a cost effective option who can play multiple positions—something worth his weight in gold. And all of the writers here have repeatedly laid out their case for why his numbers last year merit a return.
These moves are just the beginning of what is likely to be a long offseason, which will be shaped by today’s TD announcement. The Whitecaps are staking a lot of hope that whatever new players they bring in will be of high quality—something I think we all will remain skeptical of until proven otherwise. Turning their backs on proven commodities like Henry or Chirinos is a high-risk, high-reward move for a club that has failed in basically every risky endeavor they’ve embarked on in recent years. Let’s hope this time is different.
Onto the links...
Best of the Rest
The press conference with the new TD will start at 11:30 PT. You watch it right here on the club’s YouTube channel. ESPN is reporting that it is former Schalke and Mainz exec Axel Schuster
Fredy Montero says he wants to stay in a Whitecaps’ uniform next year. He will almost certainly need to be bought down in order to be worth the Caps’ while
Thierry Henry is set to return to MLS—as manager of Montreal Impact. While he flopped at Monaco, MLS has proven to be a pretty good place to develop as a manager and will certainly bring a lot of eyeballs to the sometimes staid Impact franchise
Veljiko Paunovic is out in Chicago, as the Fire look to retool ahead of their big Soldier Field move
While in MLS financial parity reigns, UEFA’s slap on the wrist for Manchester City all but means the death of Financial Fair Play