Happy Monday morning folks. It’s a bank holiday here in the U.S. which means I’m writing this from the comfort of my own home and have literally nothing to complain about.
OK, I actually do have something to complain about: preseason matches which you can only watch if you live in a certain geographic area. The Caps played a real, honest-to-God friendly match last night, wrapping up their preseason in a spirited 2-1 defeat last night.
The problem? You could only watch it if you lived in the populated part of British Columbia. I realize this covers most Caps fans—but not yours truly. This is not a problem restricted to the Caps, as most teams have had their tune up matches geo-blocked to certain areas.
It is not immediately clear why this is the case—some have speculated that it is designed to prevent opposing teams from gathering more scouting material (never mind that they’re playing a fellow MLS team and all tactics, set piece plays, etc. will be public in 10 days anyway). It kind of screws those of us who live many miles from their team of choice (or many miles from any MLS team and want to get our preseason fix on).
I acknowledge I could have used a VPN and fiddled around for five minutes with one but gave up—it just wasn’t worth it. To the Caps’ credit, they don’t appear to be thrilled about this situation either but have their hands tied by the league.
Know we want our matches available everywhere. Trying to work with the league to understand the 'why' behind these restrictions and see what we can do....— Mark Pannes (@WhitecapsCEO) February 17, 2020
The Caps will go again Wednesday against New England Revolution to complete their time in the Timbers’ mini-tournament, where the match will once again be restricted. Maybe I’ll get my VPN up and running in time to watch...
But it appears I missed a pretty solid performance from the Caps. The 2 goals they conceded were a penalty and a low percentage strike from Andy Polo. And the goal the Caps scored? A brilliant build-up from Ali Adnan and David Milinkovic was polished off cooly by El Tanque.
A big win from last night? Ali Adnan appears to be in midseason form, per the Twitter reports and the brief highlights I saw. Is it because he wants a European move midsummer? Perhaps, but a motivated, focused and in-form Ali Adnan would go a long way to making this team competitive. Same for Milinkovic, who I was skeptical of coming in but appeared to link up well with Ali—a prerequisite for a left winger on this team and a majorly positive sign for his ability to contribute positively going forward.
And this team is without two of its more recent signings: Leonard Owusu is still waiting for his Canadian visa to come through (of course the central midfielder is the where the bureaucratic hangup is...) and Ranko Veselinović is dealing with a heal issue. Especially given some rough (and admittedly uncharacteristic) centerback play from the Caps last night, a little more competition at CB will be a win.
It is never a good idea to read too much into a preseason match. Especially one that you didn’t see the majority of. But hey I don’t have much else to do today so I’m calling it right now: THE CAPS ARE WINNING MLS CUP BABY.
At least until they get hammered by New England on Wednesday.
Shameless Self Promotion
There’s a new homegrown signing in town and AtlantisB helps you get to know him a bit better. Meanwhile, stay tuned for our season preview roundtables, dropping sometime in the near future
Best of the Rest
More on Milinkovic and his push for a starting spot can be found here
Three MLS teams have inquired about Ki Sung-yueng, who was cut loose by Newcastle United last month. Despite our well-documented success with Korean players, the Caps are reportedly not one of them
The Guardian asks if MLS has become too big for its own good. Given that the potential talent pool is basically limitless ... no?