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Coffee with the Caps, Friday March 8

What is this newfangled thing? Come find out

MLS: CONCACAF Champions League-Tigres UANL at Vancouver White Caps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome all to the first edition of what we are calling “Coffee with the Caps.” Other blogs in the SB Nation Soccer family will do a morning round-up of links, giving their communities a chance to discuss the best soccer (and non-soccer) related news of the day. Well, we asked, why not 86Forever? Enter Coffee with the Caps. I’ll start the post off with a mini “rant” to serve as a discussion point (or not, depending how much you like what I have to say) and will follow it up with the best links from 86Forever and around the web. Then we’ll meet in the comments to chat, catch up and party. Sound good? Well we’re going to start with biweekly Coffee with the Caps posts on Monday and Friday and increase the frequency if there is interest. Ready? Let’s get started…

This week was the latest iteration of the MLS masochism CONCACAF Champions League. If you were going about your business, it didn’t go so hot for MLS sides. While the CCL annually comes at the worst time for MLS teams, especially ones with lots of roster turnover, this year was particularly woeful. Not a single American team won (lol @ Toronto FC), with New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo falling at home 3-0 to Santos and Tigres respectively. Atlanta conceded an early penalty to Rayados and also lost 3-0. And even Sporting KC couldn’t find a way to win at Panamanian side Independiente, although they did get an away goal as they lost 2-1.

This comes after a round of headlines cheering MLS’ progress in the CCL, as they put four of their five teams into the quarterfinals. Some fans were again wondering if they had overtaken Liga MX as the premier North American competition. While this may have always been wishful thinking, it did make me stop and consider where MLS falls in comparison to its southern rival. As someone who’s watched the league for a long time, I’m not buying into apocalyptic narratives. MLS has come a long way and can now say with a straight face that they are among the top leagues, not just in CONCACAF but in either of the Americas. And they have an advantage over the superior quality leagues in Mexico, Brazil and terms of relative economic stability, demographics and number of number of spending mechanisms ending in -am (OK maybe not the last one).

Despite the high profile cases of Kaku (wanted to go to Club America) and Yoshi Yotun (did go to Cruz Azul), the best players in Central and South America have been tending to hop over Liga MX in favor of MLS. While this doesn’t guarantee eventual continental supremacy, it does give MLS a leg up on a rival that has been along a lot longer, with much more ingrained soccer culture. So if you, like me, root on MLS (yes, even Toronto FC) in the CCL, take heart after what was a … rough week, to say the least.

Oh and this week also made me feel a little better about the Caps’ ill-fated attempt to slay Tigres in the 2017 CCL. It’s worth remembering that the Caps’ came very close to Tony Pulis-ing a result in Mexico, with Kendall Waston and Eduardo Vargas eventually doing them in. And then Brek Shea scored three minutes into the second leg at BC Place (seriously, any team that allows Brek to score against them should be instantly eliminated) before reality kicked in and they were put to the sword 4-1 on aggregate. Here’s to winning the Canadian Championship this season so Vancouver can disappoint us all in next year’s CCL.

Shameless Self Promotion

The Whitecaps’ offseason isn’t over, no sir, and our own AtlantisB profiles first round pick Brendan McDonough and HG keeper’ Thomas Hasal, both of whom inked deals with the first team this week.

If you want to relive last week’s season opener (although we won’t blame you if you don’t), here is our reporting from the Caps’ locker room.

And have a go at predicting what the Caps will line-up like on Saturday.

The Best of the Rest

Last week clearly showed the Caps need a left back and Province’s JJ Abrams looks at the options, including Iraqi Ali Adnan (who some in-the-know are saying will be a Cap).

PSG LOL’d it up in the UEFA Champions League but what does the drama at the Parc des Princes tell us about VAR? A nice piece here.

And the latest Game of Thrones trailer has dropped. The takeaway? I have a little over a month where I can go on Twitter on Sunday nights before I have to abort. For those of you who watch, check this out.

Oh and a final word on etiquette. We want everyone to feel welcome, so please keep that in mind. No politics, please. And finally, remember that we are all in this to have fun. Criticizing the team, management, Spike or the referees is fair game but please try and curb the unrelenting negativity that can make Whitecaps Twitter (™) a not-so-fun place to be sometimes.

Happy weekend y’all!