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Coffee with the Caps, Monday April 8

Everybody just calm the f—- down

MLS: LA Galaxy at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning everybody. Ok, so that wasn’t the result we all wanted Friday. Coming out of the 2-0 loss to LA Galaxy there appear to be two major storylines

  1. The Caps have taken just 1 point through their first five matches (despite, in my opinion, playing much better soccer Friday night)
  2. A not insignificant number of the fans who turned out to BC Place did so not to see the Caps but instead Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Felipe Martins during a halftime interview when he labeled the phenomena “kinda sad.”

My colleagues did a lot to address the first point so I’m going to address the second. And it will provide a nice corollary to my efforts to counter the insufferable negativity that often reigns throughout the Caps’ fan base.

Yes, it was disappointing the number of fans who turned to cheer Zlatan on Friday. There are no two ways about it—it was embarassing for the club and if I were a player I would’ve been undeniable pissed.

That being said, the narrative in national soccer media about the whole affair seems to have been drastically overblown. Multiple MLS writers I follow on Twitter considered it a massive indictment of the quality of Vancouver’s supporters, which frankly I find rather offensive.

First off, the Caps were ninth in attendance last season, finishing behind only a handful of teams that were either a) much bigger cities, b) much more successful teams or c) both. They did this when these matches did not involve Zlatan or another suitably impressive international star.

Second, it is no secret that the organization has given fans very little reason to come out. The quality of the support for a mediocre team in a crowded media and entertainment landscape, to me, is quite high. I think to suggest otherwise is a disservice to the many fine supporters’ groups that exist in Vancouver. The club is not where any of us want it to be but this isn’t New England or Colorado, whose teams struggle so mightily to draw and be relevant.

My fandom is a bit different than the others on this website. I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland. The closest I’ve ever lived to Vancouver is Madison, Wisconsin. Yet when I first got into MLS, guess who was an expansion team? I wanted to support a club who would grow, just like my support and love for soccer in America.

The club closest to my hometown is DC United. Yet, until very, very recently, you would not have known that. Heck, even most people in DC (where I also lived) didn’t know of DC United. If a Zlatan-level player were to come to RFK Stadium, I don’t think enough people even knew that DC United existed to elect to come out and cheer them on, like folks did at BC Place on Friday.

Obviously Wayne Rooney and Audi Field changed that. And I’m sure there are people out there who would point to that as an example of what the club needs to do—invest in an honest-to-God big money transfer target. They may be right.

But having grown up around DC United, I offer this message:

Be glad that your club is enough of a part of the city such that people know they exist, even if to turn up to see an opposing superstar.

Be glad that you have supporters (A LOT of supporters, I might add) who want to push their management, coaches and players to be better.

Be glad that you had Alphonso Davies and Camillo and Jay DeMerit and Pedro Morales and all the other modern club legends we’ve watched.

Be glad you have some banging hoop jerseys, some hot young players, Pride night, a stadium that is not RFK (ugh) and the other things that make being a Caps fan fun.

Friday was not fun. Last season was not fun. There will probably me more matches that aren’t fun in the future. We shouldn’t stop pushing the club to do better. But please don’t take for granted the positives that do exist about this club (and which hopefully will continue to become a longer and longer list).

And remember the fun times, including this goal which sealed my love for the Caps:

With that, lets take a look at the links:

Shameless Self Promotion

If you do want to relive Friday night well, golly gee, we can help you do that. Caleb gives you the tale of the tape, Jitsuo goes into the locker room for player reactions and Sam doles out his report card grades.

Best of the Rest

Arjen Robben appears to be considering a move to America. One has to think he still has enough in the tank to carve up some MLS defenders.

A running theme of this column has been me pointing out at the lol-tastic moments from the Portland Timbers. And there’s nothing more lol-tastic than losing to San Jose.

We all need a Monday boost, so here’s a dog getting flagged for offsides in Cyprus:

Have a good week everybody