It’s Monday and the Caps have, at long last, grabbed their first result of the season.
But we begin our column with the exciting news announced after the match on Saturday evening that Ali Adnan has opted to extend his loan with Vancouver. While many observers were surprised that the Iraqi international would so quickly move to make such a large decision but he said the club has acted swiftly to make him feel at home.
When asked by media members why he would not wait to attempt to secure a deal with a European club, Adnan said he felt Vancouver would be the perfect spring board to bigger and better things.
“The league, the club have a good record of sending players to big clubs in Europe,” he said via a translator. “I already love this club and I am in no hurry to leave.”
Adnan’s decision will keep one of the league’s best fullbacks in Vancouver ... oh, wait, what’s that sound? Oh ... APRIL FOOLS.
Yes, yes it was a cruel joke wasn’t it. But this scenario is one that every Whitecaps fan will be hoping is reality come the summer transfer window.
Adnan was, simply put, excellent on his debut. This isn’t to say it was a flawless display (it wasn’t) or that it was just the tricks and flicks he unleashed (which were admittedly fun to watch) but more just that his performance was clearly a cut above what Vancouver has gotten from any fullback in recent years, save Steven Beitashour.
In fact Beitashour, who incidentally hails from Adnan’s international rival Iran, is probably the best comparison to Adnan in terms of a two-way fullback who can leave his mark on the match, offensively and defensively. It is no secret that the Whitecaps’ defense suffered tremendously after he left for Toronto and a similar thing happened to the Reds when Beita moved on to expansion LAFC last year—they simply lost the linchpin of their defense.
It is unfair to expect Adnan to have the same long term impact, especially after only one match. After all, he is widely expected to stay only until the summer transfer window, after which he will likely head back to a major European league. The only reason he’s in Vancouver in the first place, after all, is because he got caught in contract purgatory after Atalanta terminated his deal following a falling out over his inclusion in Iraq’s Asian Cup side.
Although Adnan himself is making Caps’ fans question that conventional wisdom. The 25-year-old has said on multiple occasions that he would like to make the move permanent, although it is unclear whether such talk is posturing, politeness or an actual signal that the Iranian would stick around.
(Also I think it’s pretty cool that Adnan did his press conference with no translator, despite the relatively short time he’s been in North America. I’m sure he’s picked some English up in his travels but a nice effort all the same)
It is obviously too soon to say on whether our new left back will be around come the end of the season. In the meantime, lets all take some time to enjoy a player who could well be one of the top fullbacks in the league by the time he moves on (or not). And there’s no April Fools joke in that.
Here are the links:
Shameless Self Promotion
We have no shortage of coverage of the Caps’ 0-0 draw with Seattle, so get caught up while you delay your Monday morning work! If you missed the match, read our recap here. I give my #takes on the individual performances over here. And hear directly from the lads and MDS in our From the Locker Room piece.
The Best of the Rest
A nice piece from the always quality JJ Abrams on what Saturday’s result could mean going forward.
Sam Stejskal writes on why MLS teams have undervalued Asian talent (with plenty of ink devoted to Hwang In-Beom)
And get caught up here on anything else you may have missed from this weekend in MLS play, including a 7-1 (!) rout and Wayne Rooney and Alejandro Pozuelo being good at soccer.
Have a lovely week y’all and we’ll see you right back here on Friday. Oh and don’t believe anything you read on the internet today :)