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Coffee with the Caps, Monday July 18

United States v Canada: Group B - 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope your weekend was a good one — I got to see a U.S. win over Canada live and in person so I have nothing to complain about (the USMNT performance, however is another story).

Its hard to take the piss out of the Canadian fans too much given how poor the U.S. looked after the first 30 minutes or so. The stadium was effectively disengaged from the match in the second half because the U.S. was just so static when they had the ball — bringing Gianluca Busio off meant that the home side was without anyone interested in making progressive passes and really asking questions of the Canadian backline. It was almost like watching the Whitecaps in country form.

There will likely be a lot of hand wringing over the officiating which, admittedly, was a bit crap. But when you have 14 shots, a good chunk of which were on target, and you boss possession for much of the second half, you really only have yourselves to blame. If Cyle Larin brought his finishing boots, it would have been game over for the U.S.

Either way, you have to almost peg the Canadians to be the more likely team to beat Mexico — a chance they will likely have in the semifinals, after Mexico beat El Salvador (a match El Tri had to win to top the group, thanks to their draw with Trinidad and Tobago in the opening match). The U.S., meanwhile, doesn’t seem particularly well positioned to take on either Jamaica or Costa Rica (the second place team between those two sides will be their quarterfinals opponent).

A match we all can agree on is the Caps’ 2-1 come-from-behind win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday night, a win which hit the spot on many levels. The Caps showed many similar flaws in the first half, meaning it would have been easy to assume the second half would’ve been a slog towards another loss.

But credit must (for once) go to Marc dos Santos for positioning his team to take advantage of a low-energy second 45 from the visitors, not to get too cute with his subs and generally set the Caps up to more effectively control play and hit on more dangerous counterattacking opportunities. It isn’t going to convince anyone that MDS’ long term future should be in Vancouver but he actually got the most out of the Caps for the first time since the opening two weeks of the season.

Special mention also goes to Deibar Caicedo, a player who some of the lazier segments of the fanbase have slagged off in recent matches for his lack of finishing, despite the fact that he has been the most dynamic attacking outlet for the team the last month or so. Given the Caps’ history of signing pace merchants, I get where the skepticism originates from but I feel like Caicedo has been a different beast. Yeah, it would be nice if Caicedo can bag a few more goals but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the scoresheet more often with the arrival of Ryan Gauld.

Meanwhile, Javain Brown turned around a rough first half to underscore why he should be the starter, even when Bruno Gaspar returns from injury. Brown’s aggressive attitude sometimes bites him, but more often than not it helps him, as he is perhaps the most committed tackler on the team and his pace allows him to recover from any individual errors more often than not.

With David Egbo’s brace for Phoenix Rising off the bench on Saturday night, the Caps appear to have continued their solid MLS SuperDraft track record (the whole “we drafted Ryan Raposo over Daryl Dike” thing aside).

With the Gauld and Pedro Vite deals seemingly in a good place, maybe the Caps can hang around the playoff picture a bit longer than we thought ... Yeah, yeah I know.

Shameless Self Promotion

We have your requisite post match and report card offerings if you want to relive Saturday night’s match.

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