Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope your week is off to a strong start — we’ll try and help you ease in.
We’re staring down the barrel of a three week break, which gives a respite for both the players and fans to take stock of things and regroup.
Saturday’s all-too-familiar 2-1 loss to Houston has prompted some early hand wringing over where things are headed. That includes the future of Marc dos Santos, what with some totally unsubstantiated rumors formulating over his future.
Now, to be clear, these are almost certainly 100% complete and utter BS. A club which has consistently backed MDS seems incredibly unlikely to sack him a month into a season in which the club has not played a true home game, missed some key players and managed some decent early results.
But at some point you can only watch so many matches with the same exact problems before you wonder what the one constant is in all this.
Not moving over to more of a 4-3-3 (despite two straight matches where it has had a positive development), seemingly insisting on Lucas Cavallini dropping back to play a deep lying forward (with no one to support) ... this three week break will be a chance for a much needed overhaul.
If that overhaul were to include a new manager?
Well, I don’t think there would be a ton of heartbroken Caps fans if that were the case, as unlikely as it might be. MDS has never been beloved by the fanbase and that frustration has continued to rise in the last season and change, despite the extenuating circumstances.
I’ve always been sympathetic to MDS but I think the frustrating element is there hasn’t been a ton of growth there. The same problems this team had in his first season, on a fundamental level, still exist, despite millions of dollars of investment. The same frustrating substitution patterns, the same tactical foibles ... well, you get the idea.
There have been glimpses of progress, glimpses of something bigger but it just hasn’t come off. Maybe that’s unfair given the perpetual lack of a creative attacking midfielder but it is the reality.
The question of course becomes whether it is too awkward to try and replace MDS in the middle of the season, as well as the financial cost in walking away from a manager before his contract is up.
The team would likely look to a more established commodity to replace MDS, who was relatively untested at the MLS level. That could be pricey as well, especially if they look to someone with a European pedigree. Getting someone who is interested in coming into the weird situation the Caps are in (without a permanent home and all) might be a tough ask as well.
So the question then becomes how to use the three week break most productively. Figuring out a formation re-rack is one way. Getting players fully match fit is another, as the team would benefit from a run of games with a settled, first choice XI installed. Ensuring the new arrivals (most notably Caio Alexandre and Bruno Gaspar) are fully on the same page as everyone would be nice as well, so as to improve some cohesion. And figuring out a blueprint for using youngsters (particularly Michael Baldisimo, Javain Brown and Ryan Raposo) would be good as well.
But for a team which has had a topsy turvy last year, a chance to imagine what it can be and what it wants to be might be the biggest opportunity at all.
Shameless Self Promotion
We have the deets from the 2-1 loss to Houston. I bring you the match recap and Caleb has the thoroughly mixed bag that was the report card. Caleb also weighs the merits of a switch from the trusty ole 4-4-fookin-2.
Best of the Rest
More on the problems facing the Caps heading into their three-week layoff
SUM — the marketing arm of U.S. Soccer — is going bye bye after roughly two decades
Why has LAFC — the perpetual MLS Cup favorites — started out so slow?
Jonathan David notched a goal and won a penalty to help Lille secure the Ligue 1 title on Sunday