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Coffee with the Caps, Monday September 21

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you’re gearing up for the week ahead feeling empowered by two wins on the bounce.

It was a busy weekend for the team, who did in fact secure their second straight win Saturday night in Sandy, Utah. It was not the most convincing victory for the Caps, even against a Real Salt Lake side that played much of the second half down a man.

But the good things working offensively for the Caps against a 10-men Montreal Impact side in the midweek also were clicking Saturday night as well. Fredy Montero put in another strong performance and his form was so striking that it forced the highly-paid DP out of the starting XI. Lucas Cavallini did come on to bag the match winner so everything worked out in the end and Cristian Dajome and David Milinkovic continued to fire on all cylinders.

Sure questions elsewhere in the team remain (the midfield ... uh? Ali Adnan’s future? why does everyone want to kick Thomas Hasal in the face?) but the Caps’ attack is gelling at the perfect time. Janio Bikel is regaining fitness and maybe someday will be able to pay on the pitch alongside Michael Baldisimo. The defense might have steadied itself, thanks to the guiding hand of Cristian Gutierrez and Ranko Veselinovic

Somehow the team has found themselves seventh in the league table which, as it stands, would be good enough to qualify them for the playoffs thanks, in part, to a very strange schedule.

Now, naturally maintaining that position will be harder with matches against LAFC and the Portland Timbers coming up. And whatever schedule the league concocts past next weekend will likely involve the Caps remaining on the road for the foreseeable future.

They will also be without Yordy Reyna, who was shipped to DC United for General Allocation Money the Caps may well never use. Still, the move was not a shock. There have been well publicized benchings in recent matches owing to Reyna’s lateness for team functions and there have been rumors about him leaving the club over more or less MDS’ entire tenure.

The fact that he lacks a real home in MDS’ latest tactical experimenting probably was the nail in the coffin. Reyna was undoubtedly useful on the counter and I could see an argument for keeping him around to try and slot in as a second striker or even playing in the attacking mid role in a 4-2-3-1. But Reyna’s propensity to give the ball away, combined with the fact that Fredy Montero has been showing he could do either of those jobs at least as well as Reyna, meant that the Peruvian was more of a luxury than a necessity.

The Caps took a real chance to cash in while they could, rather than let him leave on a free. Sadly, there probably will be a large contingent of Caps fans who won’t miss him—Reyna was rather divisive during his time here. But 21 goals and 17 assists in 86 appearances isn’t a bad record and there were some pretty memorable moments, including the game winner against NYCFC which Reyna scored shortly after his arrival.

He was never quite able to live up to that standard but in an era under Carl Robinson when player recruitment was sketchy (on many levels), the fact that Reyna stuck around and contributed this long is pretty impressive. His attitude probably didn’t help endear him to Caps fans—so be it. But he stuck around through some bad times even when he could have moved on and that counts for something in my book.

I suspect Yordy’s eventual home will be in Europe somewhere—a talented playmaker on a free will entice some team outside the top five leagues to bring him aboard. I’ll be wishing him the best wherever he winds up.

Onto the links...

Shameless Self Promotion

We have your post match recaps and report cards from Saturday’s RSL tilt—might as well enjoy it while we can

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