Good Monday morning Caps fans, glad you’re settling into the start of your week with us.
I’ve watched a lot of weird Caps matches over the years but Sunday’s game is up there in terms of weirdness. The fact that the best spell for the Caps was arguably after they were reduced to ten men, the Lucas Cavallini bust up after getting sent off, how the match was weirdly open from the first whistle ... its a tough one to wrap your head around.
Accordingly its a tough match to make generalizations about, aside from Cavallini maybe wanting to not put guys in headlocks anymore and the fact that backline was operating on half speed for most all of the match.
But one that I think is worth touching on was how inadequate the fullbacks were.
Romell Quioto feasted on the Caps’ backline in part because of Ali Adnan getting caught forward—a clearly deliberate strategy from Thierry Henry and one that was enormously successful, particularly in the first half. Adnan was not as dialed in as he was last match and his offensive contributions weren’t enough to outweigh his defensive errors.
Now, there are obviously rumors about Adnan leaving and I’m fine with entertaining those but that’ll be for a different column. But perhaps more alarming to me is how off the pace Erik Godoy has looked in his first couple of matches back.
Now, to be fair, Godoy is easing his way back in after a prolonged spell on the sidelines. I think it is fair to give him more time before we make any sort of judgements about his place in the squad writ large. As I wrote in the forthcoming report card, I still rate Godoy ... just not as a right back.
Yeah, I know conventional wisdom for the longest time was that Godoy was finally going to be the one to supplant Jake Nerwinski and help ease the Caps’ woes at the right back position.
Godoy might well be better than Nerwinski at right back. Heck, he may prove me wrong eventually and become a servicable RB. But for now he should be playing centerback and nothing else.
When Toronto went straight at Godoy last match it created problems for the Caps. The only reason Montreal didn’t follow suit is because they had enough success exploiting the left side of the Caps’ defense that they didn’t really find much of a need to do the same on the right. Godoy doesn’t have the pace at the moment (or, debatably, ever) to match up against a team with strong wing play.
The fact that Nerwinski, the guy he’s supposed to be beating on the depth chart, came in last night and looked a lot more measured and composed says a lot. Godoy needs to be somewhere he can be more comfortable at that’s center back. It isn’t as if the Caps could use a different look at the position, after Andy Rose and Derek Cornelius had a tough night at the office.
Am I reading too much into two matches from a guy still working back up to full fitness? Perhaps. But I’ve never been all that sold on the “Godoy at right back” blueprint and aside from a half-decent performance in the last match of last season I don’t think I have any real reason to be, aside from speculation. Heck, Janio Bikel (who is suffering injury woes of his own) has had better performances at right back than Godoy in recent memory.
Again, I still think Godoy is a promising player and the Caps did well to keep him aboard. I also think he is not going to be the solution at right back, although it is entirely possible I eat my words on that at some point in the long term future.
Time for some links!
Shameless Self Promotion
If you missed a wild match, we have you covered with the recap here
Best of the Rest
If you’re late on the news, the Caps will have a new home to complete the U.S. portion of their schedule ................. in Portland. Toronto and Montreal will do the same
The league also announced the playoff format, although I doubt that will be needed for us Caps fans
If there was any upshot to Sunday night its that the historical rivalry between Montreal and Vancouver is very much back
Gonzalo Higuain is set to be the highest paid player in MLS—not a bad gig if you can get it