Good Friday morning folks. Hope you all are getting ready to head into what should be a relaxing and restorative weekend.
We are preparing some good #content for next week that I think you all will enjoy. Let’s just say it will serve as a slightly different take on our annual preseason roundtable that will hopefully be more engaging and enjoyable.
In the meantime, however, it was a good week to be a Caps fan. The club formally announced the capture of Bruno Gaspar and while the move was expected, it is still a pretty exciting transfer.
An experienced fullback with European pedigree— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) March 9, 2021
Welcome to the Village, Bruno #VWFC #ItTakesAVillage pic.twitter.com/kuSj61BstY
We’ve discussed this transfer at length here in this column but I’ll just give one last #take.
Gaspar strikes me as someone who will help lockdown the right side of the pitch defensively and will be a bit better at moving the ball up the pitch and getting it into dangerous positions. It is a low-risk maneuver, given that it is a loan, and his salary seems pretty manageable. He won’t single-handedly make this team into a playoff-caliber side but will be a solid upgrade all the same.
And things appear promising on the Caio Alexandre front (another signing we’ve done to death here, and elsewhere on the site). I mean, we’re getting teasing tweets from the Twitter admin so ... that’s something.
March 12, 2021
Update: We got a lot more than a tease ...
Very happy with this new cycle !! A great honor to be part of this great club ... let's whitecaps ⚽️ @WhitecapsFC pic.twitter.com/GG6OKs8gcP— Caio Alexandre (@CaioAlexandre05) March 12, 2021
As someone who was initially skeptical of these rumors, it is pretty cool to see it get across the finish line.
We got at this on Monday but, if you separate out the roster and DP math, this signing makes a lot of sense — especially if a number 10 isn’t coming in until later (something I think this signing basically telegraphs). It will create a bit of crowding with Michael Baldisimo and Leonard Owusu, which might not be good for Baldi’s development, but I think you can find a way to play two of these guys together at the same time.
If and when a DP CAM comes in, that could change, but Baldisimo and Alexandre complement each other too nicely not to try. Marc Dos Santos’ somewhat tentative approach to playing Baldi leaves me a bit nervous but not enough to outweigh the excitement here.
MDS says the 'Caps are now hoping to get 2 to 3 preseason friendlies in once they get down to US. #VWFC #MLS— AFTN (@aftncanada) March 10, 2021
And in a last bit of good news, it looks like Vancouver are set to get a couple tune up friendlies in when they move across the border to Utah ahead of the regular season. This is probably their only option to get some matches under their belt before the season starts. If someone from the organization is reading this, a live stream would be nice when the time comes (wink, wink).
Shameless Self Promotion
If you want deeper dives on the Gaspar and Alexandre, we’ve got you covered. Caleb does his trademark deep dive on what the Portuguese-Angolan right back means for the team going forward. Meanwhile, Sam looks at how an Alexandre signing might help make the Caps competitive — even if a creative, attacking mid doesn’t come aboard.
And for your Canadian Men’s National Team coverage, Luis breaks down who made the Olympic roster and how the side stacks up ahead of Tokyo.
Best of the Rest
Ricardo Clark is the team’s newest assistant coach — a shrewd move to bring aboard a longtime MLS veteran, who is well regarded across the league.
More from MDS on preparing for what could be a rough March
Gaspar’s arrival is key for what was at time a spotty defense. More on what the team is focusing on to improve in 2021
The worst kept secret in MLS was confirmed — the Caps will play in Sandy, Utah this season. They will kick off at “home” against Portland on April 18 (mark those calendars, folks).
By God! That’s MLS expansion music! Which cities have a chance after Sacramento falling flat on their face? The Athletic takes a look