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Coffee with the Caps, Monday July 22


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MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans. It was another wretched match Saturday in front of an increasingly depleted crowd at BC Place so [insert This is Fine Dog here].

I asked on Twitter what need to be done to get the Caps through the rest of the season with some dignity intact and most of the responses centered on long term needs (#lenarduzziout), which is very fair.

But the fact remains that the team has 11 league matches to get through, plus its Canadian Championship duties, and it needs some sort of strategy to either 1) avoid picking up the wooden spoon at year’s end, 2) doing some sort of planning for the future or, ideally, 3) both.

It is clear that there will once again be significant roster turnover this offseason again, although it stands to reason that it won’t be as significant as the last winter transfer window. The fact that there likely won’t be any additions in the next few weeks, combined with several of the more notable acquisition from last offseason being loan deals and the usual MLS player option dance, means that MDS will have hard (or not so hard choices [looks at Lucas Venuto]) about who to keep as the rebuild continues.

I understand the desire from fans to see a competent product on the field, even though the ship has sailed on playoff qualification. But from where I sit (admittedly not as a season ticket holder), the number one priority over the last dozen games or so is using them as a chance to more robustly rotate players to see who will fit in the tactical style he has in mind and who will not.

For many players, this is likely clear by now. But younger players outside of one Theo Bair have gotten virtually no looks this season, even in Voyageurs Cup competition. That’s frustrating to me for a number of reasons which could fill an entire stand alone article. But Bair, Colyn, Baldisimo, Brendan McDonough and even Sean Melvin should be given looks to see what they have to offer. The implicit takeaway from Marc dos Santos’ refusal to give them minutes is that they aren’t ready for prime time.

But, quite frankly, that doesn’t really matter now. I can’t imagine the Caps getting drubbed any worse than they currently are with Baldisimo in the lineup over Felipe or Andy Rose. And the fact remains that, with no USL affilliate to speak of, the only way these guys are getting meaningful game minutes to develop is if they are given a chance in the waning matches of this year.

Someone on Twitter espousing basically the same viewpoint called on MDS to treat the last 11 matches as a longer preseason and while I am again admittedly not a paying customer, I would have no problem with that. The technical staff can use the time to polish their tactical vision and decide who among the players can carry out that vision. I actually liked the experimentation that MDS deployed on Saturday night tactically, even though it ultimately achieved very little.

It appears that the vaunted scouting infrastructure that has been promised for some time is not quite yet ready for prime time (and, unlike the readiness of our Homegrown players, I actually believe that). But significant time can be dedicated towards evaluating players within the organization, not from the perspective of whether they will win matches in the near term but whether they’re the best long term fit. This might not lead to the best on-field product but, hey, its not like things were sunshine and unicorns before.

Onto the links...

Shameless Self Promotion

Sam Rowan goes straight to the horses mouth to hear from a frustrated Marc dos Santos, while Caleb doles out another round of disheartening grades in the report card. If you want more sad news, AtlantisB runs down the stats from the last three games.

Best of the Rest

Portland have an actual striker and are winning games because of it, who woulda thought!

MLS and Liga MX will be expanding their weird new competition, the Leagues Cup, to 16 teams next year aka trying to get Chivas and America in the US as much as possible

Zlatan did Zlatan things to win El Traffico Friday night and then called Bob Bradley “ a little b*tch.” A vulgar Ferrari among Fiats, apparently

I made it out of the house in billion degree heat to actually see some live soccer over the weekend, catching a mini tournament of Ligue 1 teams in Washington. There was a Vancouver connection as Hwang Ui-Jo, who almost signed with Vancouver, skied a sitter from five yards out, giving me some karmic joy.