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Coffee with the Caps, Friday December 6

The waiting is the hardest part...

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are staying warm out there and are ready for the weekend.

In case you ever wondered whether anyone reads my bi-weekly drivel (or maybe I’m the only one who thinks about that), at least one former Caps’ player enjoys his Coffee with the Caps.

Not a bad holiday get-together at all Eighty Six Forever!!! Nice characters!

Posted by Paolo Tornaghi official on Thursday, December 5, 2019

We’re glad that Paolo enjoyed our little toungue in cheek fun and it also got me wondering what account that regularly comments on here is his burner...

In any event, another week has come and gone without any sort of action from the Whitecaps in terms of player acquisition and some segments (you know which parts) of the fan base are getting a little restless with the lack of movement.

Look, big deals take some time to hash out. With news that Lucas Cavallini is not reporting to training with Puebla, and with the Caps holding his discovery rights and having a demonstrated interest in the player, this is a potential deal which could heat up in the coming days and weeks. Heck, sometimes the Caps have pounced on players and the news doesn’t leak out until relatively late in the process.

And, frankly, despite the fact that the Caps have seemingly been in offseason mode for months, the ink has barely just dried on the contract option renewals/denials for a lot of the teams in the league. Most European teams won’t be looking to deal until after the new year, when the transfer window opens up in most of those countries. And some Liga MX teams are still in the playoffs, complicating deals with those teams.

The Caps do need a vision but it makes sense that whatever plan they have cooked up has not yet come to fruition.

More concerning, however, was the club’s decision to pass in both stages of the Re-Entry Draft, a potential way of snapping up an MLS veteran on a relatively low risk deal. Per the draft’s rules, a club merely has to extend an offer to whomever they draft and, if the player decides to leave the league, they have the right-of-first-refusal for future deals.

This is a pretty low-stakes deal, although most clubs opt not to avail themselves of the option. That included the Caps this past week and to be fair most of the players are role players passed up by their old team for being too old, too expensive or, frankly, just not good enough. But there were a few decent looking options for a team professing its interest in guys who have MLS experience.

Miguel Ibarra, Derek Etienne Jr., Rasmus Schuller and Fabinho were a few of the names which intrigued me and which were not selected by any other team, meaning the Caps could have had a crack at them. The two players picked in stage 2 of the draft—Juan Agudelo and Saad Abdul-Salaam—were also interesting.

That is especially true of Agudelo, as it would have meant a pretty low-risk reclamation project for a guy who at one point was earning regular USMNT call-ups. Instead, he goes to Toronto FC to toil under Jozy Altidore and represents a bit of a missed opportunity for the Caps. Agudelo frankly has much higher upside than Tosaint Ricketts, whose role he will probably mirror in Toronto.

Caps player recruitment has been a real mixed bag as of late. But it has been even rougher when you look at their recent history of recruiting guys with MLS experience to come be role players—think the Andrew Jacobson/Tony Tchani level guys who will never be world beaters but are necessary in a salary cap league. PC Giro, Scott Sutter, Zac MacMath, Aaron Maund, Jose Aja... the list goes on and on of guys with MLS experience who have fallen flat in Vancouver.

If MDS is as serious about changing that and bringing in guys who know what its like playing in one of the most unique leagues in the world in terms of travel, atmosphere and playing style, then the club just flunked a serious test.

Will this lack of moves doom the club’s season? Emphatically no—that will be up to whichever DP level players they are able to recruit. But, again, every team needs quality role players—it is just the reality of MLS. It will be interesting to see where the team looks for those guys.

Onto the links:

Best of the Rest

It is increasingly looking like the next MLS franchise will be in Charlotte, continuing a southern migration for the league that started with Atlanta and Nashville. All things considered, I’m not a huge fan of this, as I’d like the Charlotte bid to work with the existing USL team. But no one asked my opinion!

Marc dos Santos was dinged in the wallet by the league for calling it “Mickey Mouse” in a move that 100 percent does not make them look Mickey Mouse at all

The Caps will begin their 2020 campaign at home against Sporting KC, breaking the trend of opening up against an Eastern Conference opponent. It will then travel to California to take on LA Galaxy the next week. Thoughts?

One of Italy’s most prominent sporting papers published an edition earlier this week with pictures of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling next to a headline “Black Friday.” It then doubled down in an astounding act of hubris by calling the backlash “a lynching.” But football doesn’t have a racism problem...

A good look from one of my favorite football journalists, Cesar Hernandez, at what MLS fans can expect from the four Liga MX clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League