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Coffee with the Caps, Friday January 10

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THINGS ARE HAPPENING

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans, and its actually been a pretty busy week to wrap up in MLS world between the Superdraft and a couple new transfer rumors floating about.

Let’s start with those rumblings first because things are heating up on the potential addition of Colombian winger Cristian Dájome, who currently plies his trade for Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle on loan from Colombian giant Atletico National.

The first basically any of us have heard of Dájome came Wednesday, when reports out of South America popped up that the Whitecaps were nearing an agreement with the 26-year-old amid interest from Colombian side Millionaros and Brazilian giants Corinthians. A little bit of Googling found a pacey winger who can both finish and slot in a cross, with experience at the highest rungs of South American competition. He had, by all accounts, an excellent Copa Sudamerica, which Independiente del Valle won in 2019—so much so that Corinthians’ reported interest stemmed from Dájome’s performance against them in the two-legged semifinal.

But then early Thursday, everything seemed to have gone wrong in “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry” fashion. A Brazilian journalist reported that Dájome was on his way to Vancouver .... to cancel his agreement and instead sign with Corinthians. That would be the first time I’ve ever heard of a player taking such a trek, only to renege on his agreement with a club but, hey, the Caps have a way of having these kinds of things happen to them.

All is well that ends well, however, and it appears that, from the Whitecaps’ perspective, things appear to be on the road to ending well. Colombian outfit Pulso Sports Network reported that Dájome rejected the Brazilian side and was nearing an agreement with Vancouver. Manuel Veth at transfermarkt.us also independently confirmed that fact. And Marc Dos Santos told JJ Adams of the Province “I had a talk with a player two days ago, who is wanted by teams in South America. He was very clear that he wanted to be here and play here.” Sound like someone we know? I think yes.

My skepticism that the Caps were linked to a guy who has never played outside of Ecuador and Colombia dissipated after I started doing a little research. Dájome had five goals and two assists in 25 appearances for Independiente last season, numbers he nearly matched in 11 appearances in the Copa Sudamerica (4 goals, 2 assists). His value, however, goes beyond those numbers.

Dájome is quite pacey, even by the standards of a major South American club competition. But he also seems to be a strong finisher of the ball and, moreover, knows how to put himself in advantageous offensive positions—the highlights above show multiple goals and chances created simply out of Dájome putting himself in the right place at the right time. He is not the kind of player that appears to use his pace as a crutch in that sense.

Dájome is a natural right winger, although he played most often as an inverted winger on the left for Independiente, giving him some flexibility as the Caps still try to figure out what they want their lineup to look like. He also seems to be a kind of player who is going to be helpful in supporting Lucas Cavallini up front—a guy who likes to play through balls and who has some facility at crossing and going for the killer ball over the top.

The radar above shows a player who likes to cross and take on defenders. It also shows someone who improved greatly from 2018 to 2019, leaving some optimism that he has not yet reached his ceiling skills wise.

And some might be jaded that the Caps appear to be going back to the well of South America to find talent. But its worth noting that (Octavio Rivero notwithstanding) a good many of the guys signed from Latin clubs have panned out pretty well (Morales, Bolanos, Techera, Waston, Godoy). Venuto and Ardaiz were from South American countries but were, instead, acquired from Europe. And Colombian players have a history of coming good in MLS—one only has to look as far as the success Cascadian rival Portland has had with Diego Chara.

Put it this way: Dájome shredded teams like Corinthians and Colon in the Copa Sudamerica. If he can do that against the best clubs in South America, why not, say, Houston Dynamo?

With that, lets move onto some links:

Shameless Self Promotion

We’ll have ongoing coverage of the Dájome Affair here at 86F. But first, mosey on over and read Sam Rowan’s wrap up of the first two rounds of the Superdraft, which went down yesterday. You probably saw the Caps nabbed Canadian winger Ryan Raposo with the fourth overall pick—we have some quotes with the youngster about his skillset and how excited he is to be coming to Vancouver.

Best of the Rest

Some MLS clubs are pushing for changes to the DP rule, in an effort to prioritize young DPs, or guys below 23 years of age. The Caps are reportedly one of the biggest proponents, not doing anything to change the perception of how cheap the organization is ... oy

Get caught up on how everyone else fared in the MLS Superdraft (weird Skype calls included) here

FC Cinci nabbed former FC Gent striker Yuya Kubo, making him the first Japanese DP in MLS and underscoring the increasing migration of top Asian players to the league—a nice pickup IMO

Ajax starlet Sergino Dest vacated the USMNT camp in Qatar because of the ongoing U.S.-Iran tensions. A) you can’t really blame him and B) the U.S. having camp in Qatar is a farce anyway—do it in Florida FFS

Joe Hart and Wilfried Bony have been linked to MLS in recent days, meaning we just need Carlos Tevez and Yaya Toure to relitigate the Manchester City teams of the 2010s