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Coffee with the Caps, Monday December 14

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MLS-Vancouver Whitecaps-Columbus Crew Soccer Action Photo by Christopher Morris/Corbis via Getty Images

Good Monday morning Caps fans. Another season is in the books officially, marking as the most bizarre season (and year) of any of our lifetimes comes to a merciful end.

In the end, the Columbus Crew were a deserved winner Saturday night, with a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Seattle Sounders, despite still being undermanned due to COVID-19.

In a way, the fact that the team was forced to cope with a virus outbreak was a fitting end to 2020 but it was also somewhat logical that the Crew would be tossed another barrier to reaching the promised land of raising a trophy given everything that has happened in the last few years.

I don’t have to tell you all the #SaveTheCrew saga. We all looked on with horror as the league attempted to kill off one of its original franchises, a piece of American soccer history.

The fact that the move was beaten back was in and of itself a win. There didn’t need to be a fairy tale ending to validate the victory of soccer-lovers over the naked capitalism often embraced by MLS and its allies. The fact that the Crew lived on was enough for most of us, a victory in its own right.

The fact that it was not enough for the franchise itself, who hired Caleb Porter with unmistakable ambition towards something more. They endured some rough patches but the signing of Lucas Zelarayan forecasted an unmistakable desire for the franchise once left for dead to become a standard-bearer.

The irony is that, with the possible exception of Sporting Kansas City, the Crew have made the smoothest transition into the new world MLS order, spending but spending wisely and building towards something (rather than indiscriminately throwing money at a problem, cough cough LA Galaxy).

They were rewarded as such Saturday night, an emotional release for Porter and many of the players who had wondered if their team would live on in the form they had come to know. The few fans allowed inside the stadium, itself a piece of American soccer history, were clearly even more emotional (as evidenced when they deservedly booed Don Garber when he stepped up to hand Jonathan Mensah the trophy).

It was a deserved win too, a thorough dissection of the Sounders as they capped a three-game march to the cup where they did not concede a single goal (something consistent with their regulars season performance as well, as they gave up the second-fewest goals in the league).

Congratulations to the Crew, who did every Whitecaps fan a favor by saving us another insufferable offseason of Sounders fans beating their chest. Us small market clubs have to stick together these days and the Crew is yet another shining path that you don’t have to be the biggest team in the biggest city to gain traction and develop a solid path forward.

I missed Friday’s column due to work conflict but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the arrest of former Whitecaps coach Bob Biranda for sex offenses against four individuals.

Justice often takes awhile to come to fruition but this appears, certainly, to be a positive step in ensuring accountability, although Mr. Biranda deserves, and will have, his day in court.

Now the Caps organization needs to continue in the vein of transparency and accountability, as we have urged repeatedly. The battle is not over and the club should not use legal proceedings as cover for not doing the right thing.

Shameless Self Promotion

Our penultimate Team Takeover is out and ready for your perusal, this time taking a look at some of the team’s young international players.

Best of the Rest

Some late breaking news this morning, as the Caps deal keeper Evan Bush to Columbus for $125,000 in General Allocation Money. The Caps actually did something I advocated for!

A more thorough analysis of the Caps’ links to Deibar Caicedo from Between the Sticks

A story I missed from The Province on where Thomas Hasal’s future may lie

A busy week for Austin FC, as the expansion team continues in the time-honored tradition of blowing lots of GAM on MLS veterans

The MLS players union said almost 20% of the workforce got COVID-19 this season. That’s big yikes from me man

You can vote Eric Hassli as the greatest goal in league history, just don’t make it weird like the Caps’ Twitter account did