Good Monday morning y’all, hope you are easing slowly into the start of the workweek. The weather in the Vancouver area looks a bit dodgy these days, so why not settle down inside with some football-related news?
This is the first column in awhile (5 matches to be exact) where things don’t feel totally dire. Sure, it is a bit embarrassing to park the bus in search of a point — but that point is a pretty big moral victory.
Seattle were certainly not at their best Saturday night and the Caps were able to hang with them for much of the match, save for the final half hour where the team basically shut down after Lucas Cavallini’s go-ahead goal. While this was a frustrating decision (and one which probably helped cost them all three points), it was one that was probably logical in the mind of Marc dos Santos as he fights for his job.
While much maligned, the return of the 4-3-3 was pretty effective — Cristian Dajome and Deibar Caicedo were the primary beneficiaries, as they were turned loose against the Sounders’ wingbacks to good effect.
While Caicedo has yet to show the true ceiling of his abilities, his work with Cristian Gutierrez was where the Caps’ energy and chance creation was coming from in the first half and bought the midfield some time to come into the match, which they did in the first chunk of the second half.
And it is tough to say enough good things about Cristian Dajome. While he was punished for a weak clearance in the waning moments of the LA Galaxy match, that was harsh on the Colombian — he has been doing a lot of really good defensive work in recent weeks. That was the case Saturday as well — one instance in which he was able to chase down a Seattle player from some distance and win the ball back comes to mind.
He finally was able to get some offensive output to match, chipping in a goal and an assist, and he has been indisputably the team’s best player this season.
Sure Seattle looked smoother and more deliberate in their attacks, whereas the three biggest chances of the match for the Caps involved some individual errors. But the team was able to take two of those chances — a welcome sight after a season where they often have struggled to put teams to the sword. And the passing on the Dajome goal was superlative — after a quiet first half Caio Alexandre proved his worth in the second after a run of promising matches.
Now that the ship is righted, the obvious question is whether they can build on the performance against a FC Dallas team that is similarly at a crossroads. One imagines the Caps have dug themselves in a hole they will struggle to get out of — around 45-48 points were good enough for a seventh place finish in 2019; the Caps would need 1.6 points per game to get there, which seems a tall ask.
The obvious game changer is the potential arrival of Ryan Gauld, with buzz that the player has inked a contract with the Caps. But! Because nothing can be straightforward here, Gauld’s club, SC Farense, believe he is under contract for another season; Gauld and his team appear to believe there was an out a year earlier if Farense were relegated.
While this gives off big Camillo energy, it will likely be resolved one way or another. But this team needs Gauld ASAP and it would be an unfortunate delay to the proceedings — and one which could potentially cost the team a playoff spot, given his potentially transformative impact on the club.
Shameless Self Promotion
We have a solid sample size to judge the Caps’ new signings and Caleb goes back to see how his analysis for that group have shaken out thus far. Meanwhile, he also files a post match report on the 2-2 draw in Seattle.
Best of the Rest
The Canadian Premier League is off the mark, with week one in the books. The always trusty Third Sub podcast has a rundown of what to know ahead of the season.
Week one of CPL included Valour FC shutting down the defending champs, Forge FC
Sporting KC youngster Gianluca Busio is reportedly nearing a transfer to Sassuolo in Italy, not a bad move given the club’s strong play last season and the likely departure of some of their key midfielders