Good Friday morning, Caps fans. It was a wild week but hopefully you all are cooling down for a nice weekend.
The biggest news dropped yesterday, although it wasn’t surprised: centerback Doneil Henry was sold on to Suwon Bluewings in Korea’s K League, fulfilling the rumors that everyone had been hearing for over a week. (PC Giro also will not return but that’s less of a blow to be honest).
Henry’s departure clears the way for a potential DP centerback signing and, hopefully, the return of Erik Godoy. Otherwise the Caps’ defensive stable went from a real asset to something that is very much a question mark.
That is in part due to how stable Henry’s presence has been as a part of the backline. He was in the top-15 in the league in clearances, shots blocked and interceptions this past season, yet he seemed even more vital than these statistics indicate.
Henry was the epitome of the Caps’ bend but don’t break defensive strategy, filling the Kendall Waston-esque safety blanket role with aplomb, despite playing alongside a rotating defensive cast of characters that changed seemingly with every match. Henry, aside from a brief injury spell, was really the constant in a season of turmoil.
But the real reason his departure stings is his commitment to the club. Rumor had it that he would have been willing to sign a long-term deal to stay in Vancouver, had he not been shipped off to Korea. His dedication to the organization was apparent—in a season where some players noticeably did not give it their all, Henry was willing to sacrifice his body to block a shot, track back or sprawl out for a header. His offensive contributions were Waston-esque as well, nabbing four goals off of set pieces at seemingly the times when they were most needed.
Henry’s departure may well free up the money to bring on a better player. But it is difficult to imagine that that player will love the club in the same way. His performances for the Caps, in my opinion, put him up with Kendall Waston for the most impactful central defender in the club’s MLS history. That list is admittedly quite short, but Henry’s dedication and consistency at a period of time when the club has been all over the place should be admired by all supporters. Hopefully he can nab a nice payday in South Korea and make the Bluewings competitive in the K League and Asian’s Champions League. I think all Caps fans just picked up a new favorite Korean team.
Onto the links...
Shameless Self Promotion
AtlantisB runs down the latest round of roster moves and rumors, with the offseason business slowely starting to pick up. Meanwhile, Caleb sounds the alarm about how the team may be about to waste a whole stable of talented youth prospects.
Best of the Rest
Lots of options picked up/declined yesterday. Check them out here and tell us who the Caps should pursue
A cool retrospective on the 1970s era NASL, featuring a cameo by the Caps
We might have some conference rejiggering going down once Nashville and Miami join the league
Happy weekend folks :)