Good Friday morning Caps fans. It has been a hellish week here, what with elections dominating our national landscape, but the finish line is nearing. Hope you all have some relaxing plans this weekend.
Our weekend plans, however, will not contain a meaningful match for the Caps on Sunday, as they wrap up against LA Galaxy. There will be nothing to decide on Decision Day, with San Jose’s 3-2 win over LAFC earlier this week eliminating the one remaining avenue Vancouver had to a playoff berth.
It is funny that the prevailing attitude among the fanbase has been relief over the Caps missing out. That’s for two reasons. One, it stands to reason that he Caps would have broken our hearts on Sunday anyway because, well, that’s what they do.
But also there is certainly a sense of “well, let’s get on with it” ahead of what will be another eventful offseason, with a (perhaps optimistic) hope that the team will take a more aggressive approach to reform given that another season has come and gone without anything to show for it.
Of course there is an equal, if not greater, chance that 1) the pandemic, 2) PointsPerGameGate, and 3) the Caps’ tough schedule will serve as a way of deflecting the simple reality that 2020 wasn’t good enough.
As a blog, we will have more thorough coverage of what the hell exactly happened this year because ... well, there’s a lot to unpack. The team is at a more interesting crossroads than the last two seasons because you can make a strong argument that if the team does absolutely everything right, they could be pretty good next season. Maybe not on the level of Seattle or Toronto FC, to be sure, but certainly a playoff team.
Obviously a lot has to be done to get to that point.
For now, though, the Caps have one last match, one last chance to leave a lasting impression on the fanbase and put either a positive or negative taste in our mouths for the next few months.
It also is potentially the last match that key players, like Fredy Montero, Ali Adnan and others, play in Vancouver. And it is a final chance for young players (although not Michael Baldisimo, who is suspended, RIP) to make an impression and a case for a closer look next season.
Given the Caps’ situation, there is really no reason not to go for it and play the kind of attacking football the team has trotted out only a few times this season. Why sit back and wait for counter attacking chances that may not come for another six months? It should be a statement of what kind of strategy the team is interested in taking next season, given that it no longer has to grind out points for a playoff berth that may or may not come.
This was a long season and it is easy, as always, for fans of this team to focus on the many ways in which the bad outweighed the good. But there were good moments too—MLS is Back, for instance, and the rise of Thomas Hasal from third-string keeper to internet meme hero.
That LAFC win too was pretty sweet, even though it was over a B team, as it showed what this team can be on its day. And don’t forget that this team did overcome a fair number of obstacles in its path to the playoffs, even though that path (deservedly, if we’re being honest) ended just a bit too soon.
One last chance this weekend for something positive to remember this season by. Let’s do it folks
Best of the Rest
More on how missing the playoffs ... is actually a good thing, from Between The Sticks
Ali Adnan won player of the year during the team’s end of year awards ceremony. The fan vote may have played a role in this
Alphonso Davies could be in the mix for MLS’ best all-time roster that they’re putting together, presumably to honor the league’s 25th anniversary
Fair play to San Jose for making the playoffs—a team which endured as much adversity as the Caps, on an equally shoestring budget