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Are the Whitecaps Making a Turn?

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have been much maligned for their inability to field a winner and their propensity to be cheap. However, are we seeing a turn in this club?

SOCCER: OCT 06 MLS - Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps Photo by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome back after the holidays. We hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and didn’t go broke on Boxing Day! In previous seasons the Vancouver Whitecaps have made a big player announcement at or around Christmas. As a result, I was sitting there waiting for the big name. Unfortunately, that did not materialize. However, what did arrive was news that Erik Godoy’s transfer option, of 1.5 million, has been picked up by the Whitecaps. It has been expected for a while that this would occur, but it is nice to get the official, unofficial, confirmation.

On the Whitecaps Reddit, there has been some good discussion about this move, and one comment in particular got me to thinking. ‘barelyincollege’ had the following to say:

There are signs that the club’s about to turn a corner. Since the start of last season, the club has:

Retained a top player who initially had no interest in staying here (Ali Adnan)

Brought in a young DP with potential who’ll probably be moved on for more money after this season (Inbeom Hwang)

Proactively mitigated risks by bringing in players on loan (Joaquin Ardaiz, Lass Bangoura, Godoy) or for free (Fredy Montero) instead of paying transfer fees

Hired a sporting director for the first time in its history

Recouped a transfer fee for a player they acquired for free (Doneil Henry)

Smashed its own transfer record to bring in a top striker (Lucas Cavallini)

Spent money to retain a player who proved he was MLS quality during his loan (Erik Godoy)

They bring up some good points here. The Vancouver Whitecaps have been, justly, maligned for their inability to compete and unwillingness to spend money. Moreover, given their unwillingness to spend they also seem unwilling to either a) develop academy talent or b) play academy talent. I will let you decide which of those two statements is more accurate. We might turn to Davies as an example of the club playing academy talent, and while that is technically true, I tend to not give them as much credit as they didn’t ‘develop’ him; at least not mostly. The next best developed talent is Russell Teibert, who was actually ‘developed’ more in the TFC academy than the Whitecaps.

Yes, the Caps have sent off young players to other leagues, including recent keeper Chituru Odunze to Leicester, but nothing too major. This would not be a problem except Vancouver has one of the top academies in North America according to many metrics (excluding producing talent). Therefore, they should be producing better. However, I am getting side-tracked!

The Vancouver Whitecaps have had some struggles in their brief time in Major League Soccer. What we have seen so far is certainly not enough, but in bringing in Marc Dos Santos and surrounding him with support (e.g., Sporting Director and ACTUAL scouts), it seems like a new ‘Caps’ could be on the horizon. The Davies money has certainly helped, and maybe that is what they needed, but there does seem to be some changes.

We will see if the change continues, and the ability to acquire TWO useful midfielders will be paramount to that, but if it happens we could see a positive new era; don’t forget, for seven years TFC was the laughing stock of Major League Soccer! Dare to Dream!