Once again the boys are back to discuss which Vancouver Whitecaps players should return for 2021. This time we’re looking at three prime age squad players. It was going to be four but then the ‘Caps stole our thunder by announcing they were letting David Milinkovic go. So before we get in to the players I’m going to give a brief overview of Milinkovic’s season because making these charts is a lot of work!
Milinkovic was mostly a pretty average MLS attacker but with above average playmaking, dribbling and shot quality. Perhaps on a team which was better at getting the ball into the final 3rd he would have gotten more of an opportunity to shine. The Whitecaps can probably find somebody better than him but if they don’t they may end up looking awfully foolish.
Crepeau hardly played in 2020 due to a hand injury and as such it’s kind of hard to judge. In the ASA xG model he was one of the top shot stoppers in the league and in the Statsbomb model on fbref he was one of the worst so choose your own adventure! Every other keeper had similar numbers in both models so I assume this is due to sample size and overtime the two models would have converged. Crepeau was also above average in passes completed above expected (all four goalkeepers the Whitecaps used performed quite well in this metric) and in defensive actions outside the penalty area, but was below average on crosses.
Ian: I vote to keep Crepeau. He proved his worth multiple times over in 2019 and there was no performance in 2020 that would suggest he’d be usurped after fracturing his thumb. The only way I can envision Crepeau not coming back in 2021 is if his injury somehow affects his performance in the future, by developing a sudden case of the thumb-related yips.
Andrew: I vote to retain Crepeau. A no-brainer — Crepeau was excellent in 2019 and a fluke hand injury shouldn’t change what is a rosy long-term prognosis. If he puts in another strong showing in 2021, the Caps should be in a good position to move him on to a mid-tier European league for way more than they paid for him.
Luis: I vote to keep Crepeau. Honestly I think the Canadian keeper still shows a lot of promise and could challenge to be one of the best in the league, unfortunately for those behind him the pecking order. If there was one position the Whitecaps had that I see no problems in, it is the goalkeeper position. (Aside from the injuries)
Caleb: I vote to keep Crepeau. I expect him to still be Vancouver’s first choice keeper in 2021 and that’s fine by me. That said his Transfermarkt value is 1.32 million and if someone were to offer around that amount I would be willing to listen.
Sam: I vote to keep Crepeau. It’s easy to forget just how good he was back in 2019. My only possible concern is that his deep-lying shot-stopper style doesn’t suit the Whitecaps particularly well long-term.
The Eighty Six Forever Staff voted unanimously to keep Crepeau
Have Your Say:
The Whitecaps Should:
This poll is closed
Not Keep Crepeau
Jake Nerwinski had another very Jake Nerwinski season in 2020. He had some good moments, he dribbled well all year, and he also got beat at the far post what seemed like a million times.
Andrew: I vote to keep Nerwinski. Jake had a lot of good moments and more than his fair share of derpy ones, which is basically his level right now. The team needs a viable starter at right back but every MLS squad also needs guys like Nerwinski — relatively cheap, domestic players who can fill in from time-to-time. Few guys on the team had a better close to the season and it should be more than enough to keep Jake around.
Luis: I vote to keep Nerwinski. For all of his faults, I don’t think he’s a terrible player to have around. I think his attitude is usually in the right place and could be useful as a sub right-back. This is a sentiment I share for a lot of the Whitecaps players; they’re not MLS cup quality but could be important depth pieces in a solid MLS squad.
Caleb: I vote to keep Nerwinski. I don’t really want him to be a starter but he’s a fine MLS squad player. Even if he isn’t in the long term plans I think it makes sense to pick up his option and explore the market for him.
Sam: I vote to keep Nerwinski. I thought he had an underrated year and although he’s unlikely to be a consistent offensive contributor, seeing him bag a couple goals was nice. I think Nerwinski would profit from a better team around him, so if he does start next year, that’s something I’ll be keen to track.
Ian: I vote to keep Nerwinski. All told, 2020 was a better season for him than 2019 and I’d like to think he can replicate in ‘21 if given the starter’s role once again. If there’s an upgrade to be had at right the Whitecaps should go for it, though in fairness that statement could be made about every player at every position on every team until the end of time. Nevertheless, based on the current roster, I don’t see a proper replacement for him (no, Bikel and Godoy are not good suggestions). That doesn’t mean the Whitecaps can’t go shopping, but for now Nerwinski should remain at right back.
The Eighty Six Forever Staff voted unanimously to keep Nerwinski
Have Your Say:
The Whitecaps Should
This poll is closed
Not Keep Nerwinski
Despite occasionally being deployed in “the Blaise Matuidi role” Russel Teibert did not fundamentally change as a player in 2020.
Andrew: I vote to keep Teibert. The challenge of doing this exercise is separating out what I want to be done with what I know is going to be done by the Caps’ management and there is no player for whom this is more difficult than Teibert. Rusty is not going anywhere. The ham-handed long-term deal he signed earlier this year shows that perfectly clearly. And under no circumstance should be getting the amount of minutes he did in 2020. But I think, with another offseason of roster turbulence ahead, maintaining a veteran presence on the roster makes a lot of sense. There are some roles in this team in which Teibert showed he can do a job still, although I agree that this offseason will be judged in part for making sure he does not have to do said job very often. If Rusty didn’t just sign that damn contract this would be a lot easier but I still think his Swiss army knife makeup lends himself well to a break glass in case of emergency role. I just doubt that the Caps will actually do enough to relegate him to that status.
Ian: I vote to not keep Teibert. Do I think the Whitecaps will transfer Teibert out? Definitely not. His contract will be hard to move and besides, I’m convinced he’ll become Lenarduzzi 2.0: see it out as a club lifer, probably get his name in the Ring of Honor out of sheer longevity and commitment, and eventually join the exec board where he’ll hopefully convince someone to bring in new talent, heralding what will finally be a playoff push in 2038. But should the ‘Caps objectively keep him? I don’t think so. My opinion of Teibert in ‘20, for example, was that he and the club were at their best when he was not playing his best position, moving to the wing rather than sitting deep as a DCM. That’s a peculiar thing, getting more from someone when they’re out of position, particularly when it’s a position that should potentially be easier to fill. Honest to goodness, I will always appreciate Teibert’s hustle, because that’s something the Whitecaps will need, but he’s got to grow his game if he wants to keep playing in the middle of the park and it’s hard to see that happening in his ten thousandth year with the club.
Luis: I vote to keep Teibert. No there’s no diamond in the rough that I’m potentially seeing, nor do I see a career changing position change in the future. I have no logical reason to back up my claim other than it’d be nice to have a veteran on the squad who spent his career here. My ideal role for him would be to give him the Francesco Totti’s last couple of years at Roma treatment, in which he gets a couple of minutes at the tail end of games so he can get his fanfare from the supporters.(Even though he’s currently at his peak years) I know that he’s not the most popular player on the field due to his less than stellar performances sometimes, but think of this- less time on the field = less bad performances. I feel like the public would warm up to him if his impact on the game was minimal and thus they would focus on what he symbolizes instead, which is the Whitecaps spirit, so it would end in a win/win for everyone: Teibert doesn’t hold the team back, ownership keeps one of their favorite players, and if the crowd warms up to him, Teibert gets the love from the fans he probably desires.
Caleb: I vote to not keep Teibert. There’s no way a player with the stats shown above should be a player given major responsibility in the squad or be given a long term contract. Hold on, I’m just being told...
Sam: I vote not to keep Teibert. The reality though is that he’s under long-term contract and likely isn’t going going anywhere. The hope therefore needs to be that the midfield becomes far more competitive, to the point where it’s very difficult for him to earn a spot in the lineup. I think Teibert not cracking the XI on a regular basis will be a good indicator of a successful offseason, if he’s still starting at the beginning of next year, that’s not a successful offseason.
The Eighty Six Forever Staff voted 3-2 to not keep Teibert
The Whitecaps Should
This poll is closed
Not Keep Teibert