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Team Takeover: Who should stay and who should go for 2021? (Young Canadian Defensive Players)

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MLS: Montreal Impact at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

This edition of Team Takeover takes on a slightly different direction. This article covers two young Canadian defenders and one goalkeeper. But we realized pretty quickly that we were all just going to vote to keep every player. After all, all of these players are young, cheap, and have all shown some degree of usefulness already. Cutting any of them would be pretty dumb (you can, of course, sound off in the comments if you disagree). So to make things more interesting we decided to vote on if the player was ready to be a contributor next season or if they should be loaned out to gain more experience.


Cristian Gutiérrez

Data Courtesy of Amercan Soccer Analysis and Whoscored

Cristian Guitérrez came in as a free transfer from Chilean giants Colo-Colo and provided genuine competition to the only DP left back in the league. I hate to give the game away here but he has to be considered one of the smartest pick ups of the Axel Schuster era. That said his game is not perfect by any means. His aerial ability and dribbling prowess is a long way below Ali Adnan’s (though his defensive stats are a bit better).

Ian: I vote to keep Gutiérrez with the first team. Any uncertainty I had in Gutierrez going into 2020 came from the assumption that he was too young or undersized, as I’ve been burned before (see Aird, Fraser, 2016). That doubt quickly dissipated after a string of solid performances, to the point where I believe we’ll see him quite often in 2021.

Luis: I vote to keep Gutiérrez. I think that Guti has a lot to offer at the position, and has shown more often than not he is a capable MLS level defender. He is not only good for the future of the Whitecaps, but having him near so many Canadian players could persuade him to be an option for the National Team, as he holds dual citizenship.

Andrew: I vote to keep Gutiérrez with the first team. You could argue Guti should be the starter at left back and with the future of Ali Adnan up in the air he very well might be. As Caleb said, one of Axel Schuster’s smartest pickups.

Sam: I vote to keep Gutiérrez. This is very straightforward. You need depth at his position, and if Adnan or Nerwinski were to move on, he could be a starter.

Caleb: I vote to keep Gutiérrez in the first team. I would be perfectly fine with him being a starter should Ali Adnan be sold and if Adnan is kept then he is an excellent backup.

The Eighty Six Forever staff voted unanimously to keep Gutiérrez in the first team.

Have Your Say:

Poll

The Whitecaps Should:

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Keep Gutiérrez in the First Team
    (119 votes)
  • 1%
    Loan Gutiérrez
    (2 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now

Thomas Hasal:

Data Courtesy of American Soccer Analysis and FBref

Thomas Hasal was never intended to play for the first team in 2020 but following a series of unfortunate events in goal he found himself as Vancouver’s first choice keeper, before he himself suffered a season ending injury. Hasal began his time in MLS as the #1 keeper in shots saved above expected in the entire league, following stronger performances at the MLS is back tournament, but overtime his numbers came back down to earth.

Ian: I vote to loan Hasal, but only if the Whitecaps pick up a veteran backup for Crepeau. In no way do I want to see Hasal get Spencer Richey’d, left to make a butt-shaped indentation on the bench until another club realizes there are benefits to reap, but Hasal needs those minutes to build his voice and command his team from the back.

Luis: I vote to loan Hasal. I think the young keeper is destined for big things both in terms of club and national team. Unfortunately, there’s another (relatively) young keeper doing the same thing for club and country. Stunting either of these players’ growth is not ideal, but having Hasal go on loan could provide him the experience to fill in without missing a beat if Crepeau is moved elsewhere.

Andrew: I vote to loan Hasal. Hasal has an excellent future in Vancouver but he can’t realize that unless he gets minutes, something that never happens for backups barring, well, what happened to Vancouver this past year. He would learn a lot in either the CPL or USL and if the Caps were able to negotiate in a recall option in case Crepeau goes down again, that would be swell.

Sam: I vote to loan Hasal. Schuster has already hinted to this effect. So long as Crepeau recovers as expected, there won’t be a starting job available in Vancouver, so it will be best for Hasal to get minutes elsewhere. My concern would be that after a successful loan stint he could get sold before he starts another match in Vancouver.

Caleb: I vote to loan Hasal. At one point Hasal had saved the most shots above expected of any keeper in MLS. Over time his numbers came back down to earth. That says to me that he has a lot of talent but that consistency is an issue. The best way for him to develop consistency is, in my opinion. for him to go on loan and play every week.

The Eighty Six Forever staff voted unanimously to loan Hasal.

Have Your Say:

Poll

The Whitecaps Should:

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Keep Hasal in the First Team
    (9 votes)
  • 92%
    Loan Hasal
    (110 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now

Derek Cornelius:

Data Courtesy of American Soccer Analysis and Whoscored

In Cornelius’ second MLS season he continued to be a solid though not outstanding MLS defender. His stats are all mostly middling with very good passes completed above expected.

Ian: I vote to keep Cornelius in the first team. Growing up, did you ever have the feeling your parents only paid attention to you the moment you were doing something wrong? That’s the vibe I get from Cornelius’ relationship with MDS. Like any VWFC centerback he’s far from blameless, but not to the point when his minutes should have been so diminished. Hopefully a full season will gift Corny with a regular rotation in the lineup. Based on what he’s done for club and country, when given the opportunity, I think it’s deserved.

Luis: I vote to keep Cornelius. He seems to be a player who bleeds for the badge and looks motivated in the outings where he features. The MDS situation is an interesting one, but again, if the Whitecaps are to keep their promise of Canadian national team players passing through their ranks, they’ve got to allow him the room to develop.

Andrew: I vote to keep Cornelius in the first team. Another no-brainer, although Cornelius clearly didn’t impress MDS this past season. He’s still young enough and has a clear enough path to starting matches where a loan or sale are clearly not needed.

Sam: I vote to keep Cornelius. The relationship between MDS and Derek seems to be a curious one. But even if MDS doesn’t rate him highly, DC serves as quality centreback depth that has significant upside.

Caleb: I vote to keep Cornelius in the first team. He is a mostly average MLS centre back with above average passing. He’s also still only 23 so there is still some time for him to grow.

The Eighty Six Forever staff voted unanimously to keep Cornelius in the first team.

Have Your Say:

Poll

The Whitecaps Should

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Keep Cornelius in the First Team
    (100 votes)
  • 12%
    Loan Cornelius
    (14 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now