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Vancouver Whitecaps Close Preseason with Curious Transaction

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Minnesota United FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Vancouver Whitecaps closed out their preseason on Saturday afternoon with a last-minute victory over Minnesota United. As Farhan Devji noted, that meant that the Caps finish the preseason with three wins, two losses, and one draw. Over those six matches, the club scored 11 goals. Not too bad.

Lost in the final preseason match was a curious transaction made a few hours prior. The Whitecaps announced that they had picked up an international roster spot from their host, the Portland Timbers. The fact that they picked up an international roster spot is not the curious part, per se, as teams often do that prior to the season to obtain roster compliance. What is curious though is A) The Whitecaps only have nine international players. Now they have 11 international roster spots. Strange that they need two additional ones right now. B) The Caps paid $165,000 in GAM! Now, granted, the price of international spots has risen over the years. No more international roster spots for 21 years for Sanna Nyassi (still can’t believe that one between Vancouver and Colorado). And the days of minimum, or close to minimum, $50k and $75 deals are also gone. Over the past year, the price has ranged from around $100k to the price the Whitecaps paid. Most recently, February 11th, Montreal paid $150k for a Portland Timbers INT spot. Other recent trades of INT spots are difficult to quantify as they included other components (e.g., Wil Trapp going to Miami). The point being though, that the price of international roster spots has risen over the years, Vancouver paid around, or slightly above, market value for Portland’s spot, AND the Caps were not at the limit.

There have been rumors for a week that the Whitecaps were going to sign South Korean Lee Chung-yong from Ulsan. That decision is pending Ulsan’s agreement. This could signal one of the new additions, but, again, it is weird to pay such a high price for a roster spot you do not intend to use. That suggests that not only is Lee heading to Vancouver but that we should hear about another addition in the next few days...or maybe not. The Whitecaps have not always made the best decisions. That Nyassi one though is still their best trade ever!

What are your thoughts?