Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are feeling a bit better about the Caps and a bit better about your weekends.
Wednesday’s performance was probably a one-off (unless we get an opposing player to kneecap someone every match) but it also had several promising developments.
One of those was the re-emergence of Fredy Montero, who stepped in for a suspended Lucas Cavallini with aplomb. Beyond just bagging two goals and getting Rudy Camacho sent off, Montero brought a different look to the striker’s position. While Montero as a lone striker just hasn’t worked long term in the past, it did Wednesday.
The Colombian dropped back and held up play to great effect. His IQ helped string play along and Montero wasn’t afraid to move out wide or drop into a more creative role. His one-two with Leonard Owusu to set up the third goal was a thing of beauty and not something which Cava is as adept at.
Montero’s absence from the MLS is Back Tournament, as well as a myriad of other factors, left him out of the east-coast swing of the Canadian round robin and it led many (present company included) to assuming Fredy was on the outs in Vancouver.
But just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...
Now, Fredy’s performance on Wednesday could be an aberration. But Montero looked motivated and was generally playing like a guy who wanted to fight for his place in the squad, to get more minutes. If we assume this made an impact on MDS, that leaves the team with a few options.
One, it could give Fredy some more match time over the course of the remaining regular season games in an effort to put him in the shop window and entice some other team, either in MLS or out, to put up a decent bid.
This is appealing on a number of levels. Before Wednesday, Montero was unlikely to attract more than passing interest. Moving him on to another MLS team was an option but probably wasn’t likely to bring in much of a return. But if he starts to get more match time and performs like he did the other night, a more legitimate bid might be tabled.
The Caps aren’t hurting for depth at striker, Montero is 33-years-old and it might be time to cash in while the team still can.
Door number two is the team could keep Fredy around but as more of a depth piece. Basically not much would change, except he would see the field a bit more as a change of pace option from Lucas Cavallini. Given his apparently strained relationship with MDS this is probably the most likely option.
Still, Montero offers something that Cavallini (or Toss or Bair) does not. His high soccer IQ is probably good for mentoring a guy like Theo Bair, as well. Despite looking really strong on Wednesday, a backup role still looks like the most logical. Montero’s salary hit is significant but he isn’t the most expensive player in club history like Cava. His performances in his second tour of duty in Vancouver have been more miss than hit and it is as likely as not that that will continue into the future.
Still—the fact that the attack was a bit smoother with Montero at the helm showed that he has value. Given that MDS has signaled he might want to deploy a two-striker system, is it possible that Montero could deploy as the second striker in that formation? Given his creative abilities, he could work as a shadow striker or even as a number 10 if need be. MDS has thrown basically everything else at the wall at this point, isn’t it worth a try, at least one more time, to see if Montero has staying power as a striker?
I suspect Saturday will be a judge of where things stand on this front. If we see Montero in the starting XI ... maybe that’s a thing now? MDS did admit after all that not playing him may have been a mistake. If we see him banished back to the bench, that could be a sign as well. And if MDS gets sacked literally all of this could change. Ah the joys of being a Whitecaps fan...
What should Montero’s role be going forward? Let us know in the comments. In the meantime, on with the links
Shameless Self Promotion
Best of the Rest
Alphonso Davies is the most valuable left back in the world
If you have a subscription to The Athletic, a really nice story on Davies’ rise in Vancouver from his coaches and teammates
MLS and its players will be starting a new program to increase voter turnout, with training facilities closed on Nov. 3
Gonzalo Higuain is now officially an Inter Miami player
Providence Park (the Caps’ new home!) will join BC Place in FIFA 21. Guess the Caps can’t have all the virtual fun anymore