Good Monday morning Caps fans—it is almost September, which means it is almost fall, which means my internal body clock is very, very confused thanks to quarantine.
Nonetheless, September figures to be a busy month for the Caps. They will see out the final three games of their Canadian round-robin and hopefully get some direction from MLS as to what comes next.
Meanwhile, they will have a month’s worth of an open transfer window to hunt for their next DP, allegedly a Bruno Fernandes type, as well as ponder further roster reinforcements. And maybe, just maybe Janio Bikel and/or Erik Godoy will get healthy (we dare to dream).
On another note, in case there was any doubt, it appears that the Caps were the one’s at fault in the “Did Vancouver break In-Beom or was he just not very good” debate.
The former midfielder made his first start for Rubin Kazan Sunday and assisted on a late goal to earn the Russian side a point against Tambov.
But his underlying stats were what drove the point home even more:
I know it’s still too early to draw conclusions for Hwang In-beom, but his heatmap comparison shows that he is playing in more advanced position at Rubin Kazan (right) now than he did for #VWFC (left). Result so far: 3 appearances, 146 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist, 9 key passes. pic.twitter.com/4uDAy893H8— Steve Han • 한만성 (@realstevescores) August 31, 2020
For those wondering, HIB had 10 key passes for #VWFC in 522 mins this season.— J.J. Adams (@TheRealJJAdams) August 31, 2020
And it isn’t as if the Caps didn’t try In-Beom in a more advanced position—they did. In fact, he looked worse generally playing further forward than from a deep-lying role. But the obvious difference is he is now playing for a team which doesn’t struggle to carry the ball across the midfield line and is not reduced to playing speculative balls to guys firing off long distance shots.
More context: on Sunday In-Beom had the most chances created of any player on the pitch—by far. I could be misremembering but I can’t recall a time that happened in Vancouver.
I wish In-Beom nothing but the best in Russia. I don’t think any Caps fans hold a grudge that he did what we all expected him to do—go to Europe and escape the tire fire that presently is the Vancouver organization. Despite an admittedly small sample size, he appears to be making an impact and if he continues these performances will be on his way to a slightly bigger European side.
And admittedly the early days of In-Beom could well have become the high-water mark in Vancouver. Seeing how he settles in and adjusts to what opposition defenses throw at him will be interesting. But so far, his performances in Europe have been a quietly searing indictment of the Caps.
To rub salt in my wounds, I was scrolling through the Liga MX scorelines yesterday when I saw a familiar name scored the winner for Santos Laguna. I squint, rubbing my eyes to ensure that I didn’t have the name wrong. Surely, I told myself, he couldn’t be playing there?!?
Maybe this franchise is just cursed.
Best of the Rest
Dell Loy Hansen announced Sunday he intends to sell his soccer holdings, including RSL and Utah Royals, after credible reports of him making racist remarks surfaced last week.
Seattle and Nashville prevailed in Sunday night MLS action that tbh I forgot was going on.
Montreal Impact reportedly did not want to play Friday against Toronto FC in light of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Weston McKinnie has signed for Juve and I think this is a move I will never quite understand.