Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are gearing up for a soccer-filled weekend —hope it is a chance to relax and recharge.
Mercifully the weekend will not involve Vancouver, who enter another prolonged break in a state of crisis after their 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake Wednesday. The playoffs are out of reach seemingly, the team has not won in the last eight matches and the early season cautious optimism seems like eons ago.
This, of course, is crying out for a change and given that the team is on the precipice of returning to BC Place later on in July, it would be pretty surprising if something isn’t different, otherwise it is hard to see how attendance won’t absolutely plummet. Given that this is a club which a) has been out of sight, out of mind for Vancouver residents for over a year and b) there isn’t a ton to play for at the moment, it is going to be an uphill battle to win an always skeptical fanbase over. A change could be a way of making amends.
In some ways I feel for Marc dos Santos. He seems like a decent enough guy and I will admit to being optimistic when he was hired — something I think was a perfectly defensible opinion at the time. He was a guy with a lot of success as an assistant and NASL coach and someone inevitably was going to give him an MLS head coaching gig. Maybe he wasn’t ready for the step up. Maybe the extenuating circumstances of the last year robbed him of a chance to develop as a manager. The truth falls somewhere in between.
The problem with replacing him is the Caps have to decide what kind of team they want to be. The frustrating thing is the team has some good pieces and I still maintain they are not far off from being decent. Things are only set to improve, given reported interest in Ecuadorian midfielder Pedro Vite. But the team does not lend itself necessarily to a certain system, given the makeup of the roster. Changes to that makeup could disrupt what rebuilding has been done.
And then there is the question of whether the decisive managerial action will be taken. MDS doesn’t appear to think so — while frustrated in his post-match news conference, he didn’t give any indication that the proverbial ax is going to fall.
"100%" when I asked Marc Dos Santos if he feels he is the right person to be coaching the Vancouver Whitecaps right now #VWFC— Joshua Griffith (@JoshuaGriffith0) July 8, 2021
I suspect that isn’t a sentiment too many people outside the club share.
While things feel bad, there are some positives to dwell on. First, the Vite links are encouraging, although he would join a glut of options in the midfield (although watching Russell Teibert on Wednesday, it is hard to believe another playmaker wouldn’t hurt).
Highlight videos dub him the “Ecuadorian magician” and “the new jewel of South American football,” which is a little like banking on the testimonials on the back of a book to tell you how good of a read it is going to be.
As a 19-year-old, he has gotten a lot of minutes for Independiente del Valle, one of the best teams in Ecuador, a perennial fixture in the South American continental competitions and, incidentally, the same club Cristian Dajome came from (a move which worked out pretty well). Given the relative cheapness of talent out of Ecuador and the fact that it is a league less often to be mined by foreign scouts, it makes sense the Caps would go back to the well here.
Transfermarkt indicates he was promoted from the team’s U-20 side sometime last year and has since logged nine goals/assists in 1200 minutes in Ecuador’s Seria A and the Copa Libertadores. That’s about a goal or assist every game-and-a-half, which isn’t too shabby for a teenager and, if he could duplicate that success in Vancouver, would make him a very worthy squad addition.
It is unlikely a deal for Vite will happen quickly, if it comes to fruition at all (though some legit sources have signaled the Caps are serious). But, combined with Ryan Gauld, it is another signal that the team is going to continue to invest in personnel. Who is around to manage these potential new additions? Well, that’s anyone’s best guess.
Shameless Self Promotion
Relive the RSL match at your own peril — but we have a post-match and report card to help if you so choose.
Best of the Rest
More from the Caps’ defeat on Wednesday night from The Province
Former Whitecap Erik Hurtado seemingly became to first player to be traded for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine, moving from Montreal to Columbus
If you want a quick and dirty primer on the Gold Cup, this article will suffice (though I disagree with some of their conclusions)
The Sounders now have the longest unbeaten run in MLS history, after their win over Houston Dynamo Wednesday
MLS concluded they couldn’t substantiate allegations of racism during the Minnesota/Portland match a couple of weeks ago