Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all have healed from the disappointment of Saturday because, well, all good things must end eventually.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: The Caps closed the season with one of their least effective performances in recent memory, hindered by some fitness concerns that were not entirely obvious to the rest of us. Vanni Sartini perhaps didn’t manage the match as he could have, one of the few times since he took over where that could be said.
But anyone who allows a disappointing playoff performance to override a memorable season, one where the ride to the playoffs was as memorable as anything that happened there, is being silly.
I think this one of the few seasons in recent history where you can comfortably say at the conclusion that the best is in fact yet to come.
A full offseason with Sartini (hopefully) at the helm and the ability to make his imprint on the team in a more permanent way. A chance for him to work with and integrate a fit Caio Alexandre into his system. The addition of Pedro Vite to the lineup as well. And that comes before whatever depth pieces and center back options the Caps manage to add over the course of the offseason.
Obviously there are personnel questions which remain: What to do with Lucas Cavallini? Which players will be shipped out to resolve the team’s international spot quagmire? Should one of Thomas Hasal or Maxime Crepeau be sold?
But these questions are far more palatable (and interesting) than the existential ones which this club has faced following recent seasons. The core of the team will (likely) be back next season, meaning the blueprint will largely remain the same and that sense of continuity is welcome as well.
First things first, though. The Caps need to make it official that Sartini will be the man in charge for the foreseeable future. Not because there is any doubt (it appears there isn’t any) but because it will provide a sense of healing for the everyone after disappointment. It is funny because most fans were only tangentially aware of Sartini’s existence and, even when the Caps were winning, many fans (present company included) still wanted a full search for the next coach.
But now there is really no one I would rather have leading the Caps. He has verve, personality and a keen tactical awareness. Giving him some more toys to play with will likely mean the Caps wind up back where they were Saturday — just hopefully with a different result.
And as an aside, I’d like to thank everyone for another season reading 86 Forever for your Whitecaps coverage. I’m honored to work with a group of talented people who have more interesting things to say about soccer than I do and I know you won’t be disappointed if you continue to follow our work over the course of the offseason. But we could not do any of it without you all, who read, tweet and argue with us. This season was a hell of a ride and it was better because of the community we have going here.
With that, let’s get the offseason #content underway!
Shameless Self Promotion
But first, if you want to debrief from Saturday’s performance, we have the post match and report card. And if you want to think of where the offseason is headed, Caleb has an excellent breakdown of where the Caps can look domestically for assistance.
Best of the Rest
A nice profile of Sartini, who gets even more endearing with every passing day
Pacific FC fared better in their playoff match Saturday, beating Cavalry FC to advance to the CPL final
In a Cascadia rival update, Portland bested Minnesota 3-1 in their playoff match