Good Monday morning Caps fans, I am back after a hiatus on Friday, in which our fearless leader AtlantisB deftly filled in to ensure that your link needs were met.
It was a busy weekend in Caps-land, with the preseason in full swing and the results of their latest tilt against FC Dallas were ... pretty good actually.
Admittedly the highlight package is a bit limited for this one but you can get caught up on the 4-1 drubbing here. Ryan Raposo got his second goal in as many matches, Ali Adnan did Ali Adnan things off a free kick and Russell Teibert and Yordy Reyna grabbed goals of their own against a pretty full strength FC Dallas side.
A few things to note here. The first is the continued success of Raposo, who many thought would be loan fodder after the signing of David Milinkovic, who also got his first look Saturday. Given that it was widely assumed Raposo’s best position was on the left wing, there did not appear to be a huge amount of minutes available for the rookie.
It appears, however, that Raposo is getting a strong look by Marc dos Santos as a number 10. This would be a bit of a departure from where Raposo played while at Syracuse but the youngster seems up for the task:
“It goes to show the coaches’ confidence in me,” Raposo told The Province. “Usually the guys in MLS who play 10 are big, big-time players that have played abroad. The fact they’re trusting me there (Saturday) and maybe going forward, it’s a big confidence boost. I’m just hoping to prove them right.”
He is right that number 10s are usually DP or TAM level players—the guy he would be stealing minutes from in that role, after all, would be Yordy Reyna. It is decidedly unclear that he is going to be the starter in the CAM role on opening day (I don’t know that Raposo has the creativity to thrive there long term).
But it seems that Raposo’s integration into that position has been helped by his strong fitness (he apparently finished second in the beep test, behind only Tos Ricketts), which is a big asset when you want to try and work on your high press. His goal Saturday came from successful pressing— a promising sign.
That press contributed to the Caps’ fourth goal Saturday, a lovely chip from Reyna on the FC Dallas keeper. Admittedly, reading too much into preseason games (especially ones in which you can’t watch the full 90 minutes) is the rough equivalent of shaking a magic eight ball and asking if Lucas Cavallini will score 15 goals this season.
But if there is one area of the Caps’ tactical toolbox that you would like to see sharp and ready to go, it is the press, which at times last year was as weak as a limp handshake. If it is a bit more finely honed this season, it’ll help take some pressure off a still questionable midfield and should be good for a goal or two, especially early in the season as teams round into fitness and form.
What say you all? Should we be reading this much into preseason? Are we all just desperate for the season to start? Or are there genuine lessons to be learned from Saturday’s match? Let us know in the comments. With that, we delve into some links...
Shameless Self Promotion
Atlantis hit on this in Friday’s column but I would again like to flag the fact that we are accepting applications for a writing position. If you are a Caps’ watcher with something to say you should consider applying—it is a great group of writers here and you can do a lot with the freedom we have. More info can be found here
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