With three roundtables done, we have two left to finish out the week. Up first, a look at the expected performances of 2020. How will the Caps do? Are there reasons to be hopefully? Let’s see what our writers have to say.
Part IV: Over/Under
Where will Whitecaps finish in standings?
Andrew: The good news is I think this team is currently better on paper than Houston and Nashville. The bad news is I’m not sure they’re better than any other Western Conference team, even in a best case scenario. I think Colorado will be sneaky tough this year and I can’t imagine everything will go as wrong as it did for Sporting KC last season, especially with Alan Pulido. I say they finish tenth.
Caleb: Out of the playoffs but not last. Perhaps around 9th or 10th in the west (N.B I reserve the right to change this projection if they sign another good midfielder).
Sam: I’m predicting moderate improvement, but not enough to get in the playoffs. I’m going to go with a 9th place finish.
AtlantisB: I am going to be optimistic and say….8th or 9th. More likely 9th, in playoff contention until September, but fade down the stretch.
Ian: 7th or 8th, where we’ll look back at some stupid game at Nashville having cost us critical points.
What trophies will the Whitecaps win?
Caleb: Not confident in predicting any.
Ian: Canadian Championship. Losing to Cavalry in the semi-finals last year will continue to be an enraging wake-up call.
Andrew: I could see MDS putting a lot more effort into the Voyageurs Cup than he did last season. Unfortunately, I think that’s the only realistic trophy the Caps can hope to hoist this season.
Who will be named MVP?
Sam: I think that the Whitecaps defensive line could be pretty good, and they might be forced into a lot of action with the suspect midfield. Ranko Veselinovic is my pick.
Ian: Hwang In-beom. That dude is gonna light everyone up.
AtlantisB: If In-Beom or Adnan are in the race for MVP, they are transferred out. Cavallini seems like a safe choice, but my dark horse will be…. I don’t know. Only Reyna or Crepeau seem like possible options don’t they.
Andrew: I suspect it will be Cavallini but I think at least one of the centerbacks will be able to make a strong case to be the Caps’ MVP and, maybe, even on the best XI of the Western Conference. Get back to me in August about which one of those that might be, however.
Player(s) most excited about
Ian: Lucas Cavallini, because he’ll be primarily why the ‘Caps will score more than 37 goals this season, and Max Crepeau, as 2019’s arrival will be followed by a 2020 coming out party.
AtlantisB: I was excited about Khmiri last season. I am going to keep with that and I look forward to seeing what he can do.
Andrew: Dajome, for the reasons I outlined earlier. If it all goes right, he will be one of the top wingers in the conference. I think he has a better chance of realizing that potential than any of the players in that position signed last year.
Sam: I’m excited about what I’ve seen from Raposo. I also look forward to the possibility of a David Milinkovic redemption arc, so that could be fun.
Who will surprise (breakout) this season?
AtlantisB: I guess Khmiri would be my choice here given the above, but since I already mentioned him, I will go with Reyna. I know that seems weird, but if he remains a starter he could go 7/10+. He probably won’t but I am hoping. Honestly, no one else stands out to me.
Andrew: I’m high on Khmiri to have a strong year. I think people sleep on how good the Tunisian league is and, even though he has only a handful of MLS matches under his feet, I think he can matchup well with the league’s physicality. Much like Erik Godoy and Derek Cornelius complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses well, I think we will a similar dynamic between Khmiri and Milinkovic this season. Also, I don’t think Tosaint Ricketts will score a ton of goals but I bet he will win the Caps at least one game this season.
Caleb: I think Owusu has flown under people’s radar as a player who could be very good in this league. In terms of players who are already around I would say Bair has the best chance.
Sam: Cornelius was quietly a very good player near the end of last season (and with the CANMNT in the offseason), so I expect that to continue.
Ian: Leonard Owusu, if he can spray the ball and find a way to bridge the gulf between the D and the attack.