Good Monday morning Caps fans and May the Fourth be with you (an internet holliday which is almost entirely lost on me as a non Star Wars fan) in your quarantined celebrations.
A lot of great feedback to my Best XI post on Friday with some lively debate, not the least of which involving people rightly calling me an idiot for mis-labeling YP Lee as a left back—some mornings I’m more awake than others when I do these things.
Regardless, I still stand by my lineup but there were some compelling arguments made by people for their favorites. The most interesting was that, from a tactical standpoint, Gershon Koffie would make far more sense to pair with Laba in the center of the park.
While I think Teibert has a great personality for the sport, I would put Koffie over him any day of the week. A Koffie/Laba midfield would just be destructive to the opposition and those two were just so fun to watch in the midfield – more so than watching Teibert’s lateral passes. —Geaz
The best midfield pairing in your tactical set up was Laba with Koffie. Laba was never as effective paired with anyone else and was better for a few matches before his major injury when he was playing as the lone man in that deeper spot —Tecate
I have to say, I did not give a ton of thought to tactics when I compiled the roster, merely attempting to maximize the roster so as to include certain players. But I think this is a very compelling argument—Koffie is, simply put, a much more dynamic player than Rusty. I forgot how young he was for most of his time in Vancouver—dude is 28 and still very much alive and well, plying his trade in Israel.
You can make a pretty compelling argument that the departure of Koffie was a big reason why the team took a step back in 2016. As was alluded to by my good friends above, Laba did not mesh particularly well with Rusty or Deybi Flores and the midfield suffered because of it until Andrew Jacobson/Tony Tchani were brought in to fill the void. Tchani aside, the Caps have not found a similarly skilled box-to-box midfielder since Koffie departed.
If Carl Robinson were managing this all-time XI I have little doubt that Koffie would be included—he was so vital to Robbo’s tactical structure working during that 2015 season where everything just seemed to click.
I am not Robbo, however, and I still stand by my choice of Rusty—longevity alone earns him a spot here. Were this a real squad, I think he and Koffie would both be rotation players, mixing and matching with a hopefully healthy Laba to maximize tactical flexibility.
I like when these promote debate and spark discussion—helps me know that people read these screeds! I know we’ll have similar stories coming, both inside and outside CWTC so stay tuned.
In the meantime, here are some links...
Best of the Rest
Players can resume training outdoors as allowed by local regulations, a small yet significant step
The USWNT was dealt an initial blow in their equal pay lawsuit, a move which almost certainly will be appealed
A lot going on as the Premier League meets Friday to chart a course forward on resuming play