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Coffee with the Caps, Monday September 28

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all are gearing up for a safe, healthy and happy week wherever you are.

Well that was better wasn’t it? The end result may have been the same for Vancouver as they fell Sunday night to Portland but the performance that led to it was much less bleak, although infuriating for other reasons as well.

At the very least, the more engaging performance was a sign that the team isn’t yet ready to pack it in, although they were admittedly playing against a Portland team that did not start some of its stronger attacking options.

Still, this is the first match in a long time in which I can remember the Caps outposessing their opponent and I think Vancouver actually created better chances than Portland (though the Timbers created more of them), certainly at the end of the first half when they looked likely to get a goal.

Not everything was rosey—the midfield duo of Janio Bikel and Leonard Owusu looked a bit rough and Marco Dos Santos mystifyingly waited until the 87th minute to make his second and third substitutions (he only made the first because Cristian Gutierrez went off with a knock).

But there were certainly signs of life, including Ali Adnan finally starting to look dangerous as a winger. While I would like to see him moved on still because I think the Caps could find a similar level winger on a TAM-level deal, I thought he was quite dangerous last night and showed that he could provide value to the team at the position going forward. Of course, an injury to Guti could force him back to left back. Best laid plans...

And reinforncements are on the way, although not in the form that Caps’ fans were probably hoping. It appears that Evan Bush is on his way from Montreal to Vancouver, presumably to provide reinforcements to Bryan Meredith.

The clear writing on the wall is that Thomas Hasal’s head injury is more severe than initially thought and one wonders how he was allowed to continue against RSL. I’m pretty sure I remember a concussion test being administered to him which means someone on the medical staff surely should have noted the seriousness of the knock.

Head injuries are no joke and there are obvious ways in which MLS and soccer more broadly need to do better in addressing them. But for Hasal in particular, it is very worrying—these types of injuries could derail a players’ career, especially for a keeper who has been as aggressive at coming out for balls as Hasal has. He’s dodged, on multiple occasions, similar injuries from run ins with attacking players. We hope that this won’t become a pattern for the young keeper, especially after a promising run of matches.

Bush is, well, he’s not the best replacement for Hasal and Crepeau, who is also sidelined for the foreseeable future. There’s a reason the 34-year-old was supplanted in Montreal by Clement Diop, despite making over twice as much money. His 2019 performances dipped pretty noticeably after a decent 2018 but even still this was a far cry from his peak a couple of years earlier.

End story? He’s probably going to be a deputy to Meredith, with some ability to come in and have an experienced hand if the Caps’ injury luck gets even worse. Welcome to Vancouver Evan!

Shameless Self Promotion

We recap Sunday night’s “home” clash with Portland here. Also Caleb dives into whether adding Fredy Montero into the attacking equation has made the Caps that much better

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