Yesterday we began our preseason roundtable with a look at the management. Today, we will examine the off season that was.
Part IV: Upcoming Season
Part V: Over/Under
Doneil Henry was the only significant name moved out in the off-season. Do you think it will have an impact on the field, or do the Whitecaps have enough depth at CB to absorb the loss?
Andrew: A lot of this comes down to how you rate Veselinovic, who is more or less the direct replacement to Henry. But CB was the area where the Caps could most afford to cut weight and, while I really like Henry, bringing in a young player that seems destined for a top league in Europe is a net plus for the Caps. Derek Cornelius will miss his Canadian playmate and I think there will be adjustments at times (Henry’s physicality cannot be replicated) but this seems to be a reasonable swap of personnel to me.
Sam: It shouldn’t have much of an impact now that the Whitecaps have added Veselinovic. Cornelius also was only getting better as the season went along and Khmiri could be a factor this season. Obviously, retaining Erik Godoy was key as well. This is not a position I’m terribly concerned about.
Ian: Officially bringing in Erik Godoy was a good start, but I can see some weird holes if there’s a confluence of happenings, like Khmiri getting/staying hurt, Cornelius doesn’t progress, or Facchineri can’t crack the lineup. I think it’ll come down to how well Ranko Veselinovic transitions to MLS.
Caleb: I think they will probably be fine. Henry was perfectly fine but he was probably at the peak of his value and he and Cornelius are more or less interchangeable. He came on a free and they got money for him after two very serviceable years. I can’t be too upset about that.
AtlantisB: The only thing the Henry move did for me was guarantee that the club was not going to go with three center backs. With Godoy, Khmiri, improving Cornelius, and now Veselinovic, it is the one position the Caps are okay at and could easily handle Henry departing.
Who will be the biggest acquisition: Dajome, Milkinkovic, or Owusu?
Caleb: Owusu will certainly be the most important. I like his profile a lot but he has the least room to fail of these three because (at time of writing) There is nobody else to take his spot. Nevertheless I think he may surprise some people.
Sam: A late entry, but I think Veselinovic could have the biggest impact right off the bat. His attributes likely make him an easy fit to MLS, and he’s already a pretty polished player at a young age. Milinkovic is also worth a mention, he’s unlike any winger the Whitecaps have had for a while, as more of a creator than a one-on-one threat, so that could be interesting.
Andrew: Dajome is certainly the most vital acquisition. Ultimately a major question for the Caps this season is this: Will the Cristian Dajome who bossed the Copa Sudamericana show up? If so, the Caps have a real steal and a player which instantly elevates the play of Lucas Cavallini up top. If not, well he’ll be the surefire answer to the question below. I’m betting, however, that isn’t the case.
Ian: Cristian Dajome, if he can quickly establish himself as a threat on the wing.
AtlantisB: Owusu will be the most important of the three, but I think that Dajome will have the biggest impact.
Who will be the biggest flop: Cavallini, Dajome, Milkinkobiv, or Owusu?
Caleb: Milinkovic is the equivalent of finding a quarter on the floor of a casino and sticking it into a slot machine. I’m not sure it’s possible for him to be a flop because nothing was really risked to get him. That bit of pedantry aside, I kind of suspect it will be Dájome.
Sam: Owusu probably has the biggest bust potential. Not because he’s not a good player, but because the adjustment to the league could be challenging for the youngster, and he may be asked to do a whole heck of a lot considering the Whitecaps shocking lack of depth in the midfield.
AtlantisB: Owusu is the most likely. That is compounded by the visa issues, meaning he won’t have much time to train with his teammates. It will be a tough adjustment already. Add that to it…could be a rough year. Plus, a lot of pressure on him, given he is the only player brought in to address the terrible midfield.
Ian: I’d look at this more like “Who has the furthest to fall?”, and in that case it’d be Cavallini. He’s the recognizable name, so patience may be thin for him if he doesn’t perform
Andrew: I want to be clear: I’m intrigued by Leonard Owusu. I think his skillset could be a real asset. BUT I also don’t have a lot of faith given the Caps player recruitment in central midfield as of late (Jordon Mutch, Efrain Juarez, Nosa Igiebor, Andy Rose, Jon Erice—are we cursed?). Owusu lacks the pedigree of the other signings and you have to think the step up from the Israeli Premier League will be … a big one. I think we’ll either be here next year scratching our heads at this signing or all looking like fools because Owusu is a hidden gem.
What’s happening with the midfield?
AtlantisB: MDS has put a LOT of pressure on himself. We know the defense is fine and the offense is not bad, provided they get service. If the club starts poorly, this will be the rallying cry of fans and pundits of why the Caps are so poor.
Ian: Oh man, I wish I knew. I’m worried the midfield will be simply an improved version of last year’s; it’ll be disjointed less often, but disjointed nonetheless.
Andrew: I swear to God, if I see one more transfer rumor that isn’t a midfielder...
Sam: Good question. The answer is not enough.