Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are gearing up for the weekend (good!) and a Caps matchday (I’m still not sure how to feel). It’s hotter than the face of the sun in our neck of the woods but hopefully things are more temperate where you live.
Marc dos Santos’ prematch press conference did feature an ounce of good news: Lucas Cavallini is expected to be available, despite being on the roster for the midweek World Cup Qualifying match against Haiti.
Now, Cava didn’t play and it was a short jaunt from Chicago, where the match was held, back to Salt Lake City and it appears there is no quarantine worry for the striker. His presence will be a boost, as it gives MDS some options — it wouldn’t shock me to see a two striker setup with Brian White, who obviously got considerable playing time in the team’s friendly matches during the break, and who is expected to be the lead striker during Cava’s likely absence during the Gold Cup.
The obvious drawback to having both Cava and White on the same field is, well, they’re basically the same player (as are most of the team’s striking options). A 4-4-2 doesn’t make a whole lot of sense with those guys because the same exact problems that exist with Cava playing as a lone striker are going to still be there with two guys up top.
A bit of bad news with a silver lining: Both Bruno Gaspar and Jake Nerwinski look unlikely to play due to injuries. That means we will likely get another look at Javain Brown, something I suspect fans will be OK with after two strong appearances to start his Caps career.
What this team will look like tonight is anyone’s guess. One imagines three solid weeks to work with the bulk of the team will help improve cohesion but MDS’ quote on what style of play he expects doesn’t fill me with confidence.
Asked in Spanish about how he might plan to win the 3 points tomorrow, MDS jokes: "I don't want to give anything away to Freddy"— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) June 17, 2021
He then added that he wants to play compact, play in transition, and that playing in this environment is going to be need full concentration#VWFC
RSL are bad (granted, so are the Caps). This should not be a match where the team sits back and tries to hit on the counter — the RSL attack is relatively weak and this is a game where the Caps should be able to rack up possession and have more of a command of things. Playing compact, while not inherently bad, makes it seem like this is going to be a more defensive posture from the team and I don’t love that, especially given the opponent.
I predicted a 1-0 win because this seems like a cagey match, with both teams settling back into the rhythms of competitive football after a long layoff. Given that, it seems ripe for the Caps to nick a goal (perhaps off a set piece, as they are wont to do) and ride that to a narrow victory that leaves us fans not knowing what to feel. Either way, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks mentally preparing for the return so I think (think?) I am ready to be disappointed.
On with the links ...
Shameless Self Promotion
Caleb is equally pessimistic in the match preview but has everything you need to know before kick off. Get your lineup predictions in! And if you are still missing international matches, we have more on Canada’s path to the Ocho
Best of the Rest
The Province previews the match and the bizarre notion of the Caps playing their hosts
Canada’s preliminary Gold Cup roster looks strong, with plenty of Caps flavor. These will obviously be winnowed down before the tournament starts
Former Cap Sam Adekugbe is headed to Hatayaspor in Turkey
Three takeaways from Canada’s victory over Haiti
Austin FC’s supporters group is protesting the sky high ticket prices for away fans at the club’s new stadium