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Coffee with the Caps, Friday May 29

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Minnesota United FC Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans—apologies for missing out on Monday. Between the long Memorial Day weekend here in the States and a hellscape of work this week, I couldn’t squeeze it in.

But the good news? We back, we back, we back.

It has been a rough week, no doubt. Coronavirus deaths in our country topped 100,000, making America by far the most affected country in the world. Much of North America has been focused on civil unrest in Minneapolis following the death of an unarmed African-American man, George Scott, at the hands of a group of city police officers. It is another brutal reminder of the systemic racism, police brutality and fear, pain and anxiety that exists in communities of color in both of our countries.

Things can feel bleak. The absence of many things we love—people we cannot visit, hugs we cannot give, cherished activities we cannot do—only adds to that sense. To be sure, racial inequality is a far cry from not being able to go to a soccer match but the latter does not help the overall sense of foreboding and despair.

On the political front, I’d say this—turn off the news and give careful thought to the community that you hold in your hearts, the community that you want to live in, that you want your neighbors (of whatever race or ethnicity) to live in. Then go out this weekend, in the next week and take some tangible step towards making that a reality.

I think that can work for soccer as well! We’ve seen that the club we collectively all love (presumably, otherwise I’d wonder why you’re reading this) will respond to unified, direct and collective action by fans. It may be a halting and unsatisfactory response but change can come if we push for it.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about how, when matches return, that sense of community will be tougher. That’s a little ironic for someone whose connection to the Whitecaps community is this website/the interwebs but it is undeniably true all the same.

The Bundesliga and other leagues have tried to remind everyone of what normality looks like with piped in crowd noise, much like NFL teams have been illegally trying to do for years oops.

The practice draws sharp division among fans and personally I’m not a fan. We live in such a unique time and trying to pretend otherwise is fruitless. Fans in football are much more than noise. Someone once said that they found the players to be far the least interesting thing going on in soccer, in comparison to what is going on in the stands, and while I do not fully agree with that, I get the sentiment.

To reduce the supporters to the sound they make is silly. The team playing on the pitch is not whole without its supporters there, home or away. That is unavoidable—I am not advocating we wait for fans to be able to attend in order for matches to resume. Doing that would result in the bankruptcy of scores of clubs worldwide.

But maybe leaving things quiet in mourning, in honor of the community, the piece of the community that is absent. Maybe that is a fitting way of handling things.

Or just do what this Danish team did and Zoom your supporters in. After all, that’s 2020, right? And who wouldn’t want to be beamed into BC Place in your PJs, crushing a beer.

On with the links

Best of the Rest

The all-time XI of Whitecaps players only around for a cup of coffee (Nosa Igiebor anyone?)

The Orlando tournament may actually look a bit different than initially envisioned, ESPN is reporting

A good read on the mood among some MLS players about the Orlando plan, including one who actually had COVID-19

An MLS classic many of us would rather forget (hint: it involves the Caps, the Sounders and the MLS Cup playoffs)

Is Alphonso Davies already the best left back in the world? The roadrunner (meep meep baby) is making a strong case