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Coffee with the Caps, Friday July 16

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Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup Soccer-Haiti at Canada Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope your work week is winding to a close — mine is and I couldn’t be more grateful.

It has been a busy week between Whitecaps news and Gold Cup play and there is no way we can sufficiently cover everything in detail. So I will instead focus on the transfer rumors about the last player most of us imagined would be getting moved on: Lucas Cavallini.

In case you missed it, the rumbling is that Rayo Vallecano has been in contact with Cava’s agents about a potential transfer, although it does not appear the Whitecaps themselves have been a part of any talks or have even received some sort of bid.

In some ways, maybe it isn’t a surprise that Cava is looking to move on. What was a potential way to bring him back to Canada, get him a lot more playing time than he was getting in Liga MX and make him into one of the best strikers in MLS ... has simply not played out as many, including Cavallini himself, wanted.

The fact that Canada has a bevy of strikers plying their trade in Europe likely only increases the urgency in his mind to get himself into a position where he can show what he can do at the club level in order not to lose his place in the CANMT pecking order. His performances for the national team, which have generally remained strong, underscore the fact that he is still a pretty good player who is being limited by the roster construction of the Whitecaps.

While Cava doesn’t always make it easy on himself, it is obvious the lack of creativity in the lineup has grossly limited his service. When he was playing with Fredy Montero last year, he showed real flashes of being the top-drawer striker we all imagined he would be and the fact that the Caps have not yet given him a similar player to work off of has fueled the regression.

That being said, I’m not sure I would be totally opposed to moving him on if I were the Caps. The obvious missing detail here is we don’t know what kind of fee the team will demand; the goal would presumably be to recoup the $5 million fee payed to Puebla for Cavallini’s services.

That might be a bit ambitious given what he has offered as of late and the fact that Rayo, who are recently promoted back to La Liga, probably are limited in their spending capacity. Still, if the team can get their fee back (and maybe even turn a profit), this will probably be the last good chance to do so given Cavallini’s age (turning 29 in December) and the fact that his physical style of play could put a fair amount of tread on his tires.

Obviously this would send a whole lot of mixed messaging to fans at a time when the Caps appear to be adding reinforcements, not initiating a fire sale. The fact is that Cava is not just a DP, he was a symbolic signing at a time when the front office was beginning to pitch a new era to fans. Moving on from him, in some ways, signals that this transition has been a failure.

But the Caps have several players who fill effectively the same role as Cava, albeit not as well. It is the downside we’ve talked about a lot on this site when it comes to their striker room — all the players have effectively the same play style. If Ryan Gauld does what we hope he can do, then it will likely empower Brian White or Theo Bair or David Egbo (who has looked good on loan at Phoenix Rising) if they happen to be the striker in a given game. Would it turn them into one of the best strikers in the league (something that would hopefully not be out of the question for an in-form Cava with service)? No. But it would do a job, while giving the Caps a good chunk of change with which to find a younger, more dynamic replacement.

There are still too many unknowns about all this to evaluate the likelihood Cava moves on. If I had to bet, I’d still say he remains a Whitecaps player. But I think the club should take a look at whatever transfer offer is on the table, especially if it a deal which kicks in after the season ends in the January transfer window. It isn’t as crazy or alarming an idea as you might initially think.

Shameless Self Promotion

A couple of really thoughtful looks at the Caps’ problems this week. Sam goes back to the film room to look at some things the team can clean up in matches to come. Caleb, meanwhile, takes in the bigger picture problems for the midfield.

Best of the Rest

Toronto and Montreal have been allowed by MLS to return to their home grounds, starting this weekend. The Caps, however, are out of luck, at least for the time being:

The Caps have reportedly tendered an $8 million offer for highly rated Brazilian left back Ramon, who plays for Flamengo. This is in Brazilian media, so who knows if it is legit, but seems like a pretty big outlay to bring in an Ali Adnan replacement

Canada beat Haiti to secure their place in the Gold Cup knockout stages and cling to a narrow goal differential lead over the U.S., meaning a draw on Sunday sees them top the group

Daryl Dike looked good in the U.S.’ 6-1 win over Martinique but the team had enough issues where I am not confident they can beat the Canadians

You’ll be shocked to know the Caps did not crack the top ten most valuable MLS franchises