Happy Friday Caps fans, hope you all are gearing up for the weekend. There is plenty of news to dive into from recent days, so let’s get cracking.
The big morsel of transfer business to sink our teeth into is the long-awaited confirmation of Pedro Vite as the newest Vancouver Whitecaps player. The 19-year-old joins from Independiente Del Valle, one of the better sides in Ecuador and the same club where the Caps acquired Cristian Dajome, so they aren’t a stranger to this corner of the South American continent.
Vite will apparently be a YAM player, despite early indications that he would be a Young DP (there are too many damn categories now), which shows a shrewd bit of business to keep that slot open for a potential future transfer.
The Ecuadorian seems to be a replacement for Leo Owusu because while he is still with the club, Owusu has struggled for game time in recent matches — even when such a move might have been warranted. That’s a shame because, while Owusu struggled at times last season, his passing abilities have rarely been in question.
If one looks at his Football Reference scouting report it is, admittedly, bang average except in a few areas. Owusu can certainly dribble by players and can usually string together a pass when called upon to do so. He also brings some defensive quality to the table. This general mold has held true in both of Owusu’s MLS seasons, despite a small sample size. He never really turned into the number 10-ish player we were all hoping for and if the Caps can improve upon him they should, but I feel bad for the guy because I’m not sure he got a fair shake here.
Vite, on the other hand, does look like a potential upgrade — with a caveat. Despite a lot of success at the U-20 level and some call ups to the Ecuadorian youth international teams, this last year was his first in top flight soccer. He did quite well — if he translates his three goals and six assists pace over to MLS, he will be a top-drawer center midfielder.
Taking a peak at his radar shows a player who fits in well with what Marc dos Santos is trying to do: he can pick out a pass and really likes to push hard to regain possession, meaning he should fit in well with guys like Cristian Dajome and Deibar Caicedo in MDS’ attempts to re-institute the press.
It isn’t totally clear to me where Vite will play — I initially conceived of him as more of a central midfielder but that is a pretty full part of the roster at this point. It is possible he could play further forward but the Caps have Ryan Gauld now. And while the wing is also an option (it appears to be where he plays a good amount in Ecuador), Dajome/Caicedo have those spots pretty firmly locked down.
At 19 there will likely be growing pains taking a step up to a league like MLS, but Vite also appears to have the skillset to make the jump. Unlike Gauld, he may not have an instant impact but he seems to project out well as one for the future.
In addition, the Caps reportedly nabbed San Jose Earthquakes defensive midfielder Florian Jungwirth on deadline day for a modest amount of GAM.
Jungwirth is one of many players who I always kind of rated, save for the fact that they played on the black hole that is the Quakes. If we return to Football Reference, Jungwirth projects as a ball winning d-mid with some offensive capabilities — not a bad toolbox for MDS to work with. He appears to have a green card, meaning he won’t take up an international slot, despite his German nationality, and that’s a nice bonus as well.
The one question in my mind is whether Jungwirth will ... you know, actually play. As mentioned before, this is probably the most crowded part of the Caps’ roster at the moment and unless there are some outgoings we don’t know about, Jungwirth would seem to offer a similar skillset to Janio Bikel. Unless the plan is to play Bikel further forward (a role he has done well with recently), opening up room for Jungwirth behind him — but then we run into whether Bikel is displacing Michael Baldisimo, Caio Alexandre or Vite.
Update: I’m dumb and forgot the Quakes have converted Jungwirth into a centerback, which is almost certainly where he will play for the Caps. It makes sense given the state of the Alexis Duarte deal, which won’t get done until winter, if at all.
Depth is good but there might be a bit too much depth at central midfield currently. It is certainly one to watch going forward.
Also, #VWFC homegrowns Theo Bair and Gianfranco Facchineri didn’t train with the full group today— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) August 4, 2021
With the MLS secondary transfer window closing tomorrow, sounds like they will both be sent out on loans, with announcements to follow soon#VWFC
Finally, it appears there is every indication both Theo Bair and Gianfranco Facchineri are set to go out on loan, with GlassCity reporting Bair is headed to Europe and Facchineri is USL bound. Both are good moves — Bair is sure to be relieved that he will get consistent playing time, while Facchineri will hope to match David Egbo in using a USL loan to make a strong case for more playing time with the senior team.
Phew, that was a lot. Let’s wind down with some links, eh?
Shameless Self Promotion
Caleb gives his trademark deep dive on Pedro Vite and things come out looking pretty optimistic. Meanwhile, check back as he chronicles in real time the Ryan Gauld Effect (or what we all hope will be the Ryan Gauld Effect). And finally, check in for the monthly update on the Caps’ youth/loan prospects.
Best of the Rest
Simon Colyn is reportedly on trial with PSV in Holland, which seems like a step up after he was meh for the SPAL reserves in Italy but would be a nice landing spot for the youngster on a loan or permanent basis
An entertaining read from Scottish media on Ryan Gauld’s arrival in Vancouver
Gianluca Busio is Venezia FC bound in what is one of the worst kept MLS transfer secrets ever
Tajon Buchanan could be set to move to Club Brugge, although the deal is reportedly not done. Would be a nice move for the Canadian if so, however
I hear this Leo Messi guy has a way about him. Might be worth looking at as a TAM signing?