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Coffee with the Caps, Monday July 15

Let’s take a walk down memory lane

MLS: Playoffs-Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans and commiserations after a rough weekend, which saw the Caps’ potential fate as wooden spoon holders come further into focus with a 3-0 loss to fellow West bottom-feeders Sporting Kansas City.

The loss was not a fun one—it underscored the grim reality that the rebuild project has been, as of now, a failure, with no real improvement on the horizon. So instead of more kvetching, lets turn to some nostalgia instead.

Every team has players which are not particularly talented (or their most talented days are behind them) but fans enjoy all the same and which stake out a nice niche in the club. This is pretty much the entire raison d’etre for Russell Teibert—in a salary cap league, every team needed players like that.

So the question I pose to you, dear readers is this: Who is your favorite Whitecaps who you readily admit wasn’t that good but which you love anyway

I am on the record in my love of Eric Hassli but I think he was too decorated (dumb red cards not withstanding) to serve as an answer to this question.

But I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for players who came to Vancouver at the tale end of their careers, bringing a (soccer) lifetime’s worth of experience to the Caps organization. Think Robert Earnshaw, Pa Modou Kah, Blas Perez. These guys weren’t that good technically, at least now relative to their peak, but made long lasting contributions to the team.

Take Earnshaw, who has developed into a bit of a folk hero despite his one season in Vancouver. Having plyed his trade at basically every step of the English football ladder, Earnshaw returned to MLS with the Chicago Fire before moving on to Vancouver for one final season in 2015.

His most indelible moment in a Whitecaps uniform was undoubtedly his last minute winner against Portland. I’ve attached the video in case anyone wants to torture themselves with an inch perfect Pedro Morales through ball:

The fact that Earnshaw has gone on to serve as an Academy coach only has further endeared himself to Caps fans (he’s currently with former Caps USL affiliate Fresno FC).

The reason I loved Earnshaw was the way he flew in the face of the stereotypical Europe-to-MLS player. Obviously he was less decorated than Steven Gerrard or Frank Lampard (and had prior MLS experience) but 59 national team caps is nothing to sniff at. To come in and serve as a mentor for the Caps’ young strikers (including, lol, Octavio Riveiro), while also chipping in a couple goals is pretty class. He didn’t make many appearances in a Whitecaps kit often but often made an impact when he did. Remember he also spent some time on loan with the Thundercaps—a fate not many veterans of Europe’s top leagues would have accepted.

So on this sobering (from a football perspective) Monday, let’s raise a proverbial glass to all of those working class heroes and treat ourselves to a healthy dose of nostalgia—we’ve earned it at this point.

Shameless Self Promotion

We have all the sordid details from the 3-0 facepalm against Sporting Kansas City. The comments in post-match in particular has a fairly spirited discussion of the state of affairs that is worth a read.

Best of the Rest

It was ~rivalry week~ in MLS, meaning of course that Vancouver played neither of its Cascada rivals. Instead, we got a contentious Hudson River Derby , while San Jose spanked LA Galaxy in the second 45 to win 3-1

The always entertaining MLS player survey has been released by ESPN and Vancouver didn’t rank as one of the worst away days!

A good read from the LA Times on the fight for equity in Los Angeles youth soccer