Good Friday morning, Caps fans and hope you all are winding down your work week and getting ready for the weekend.
One of the major mile markers of the MLS offseason, the SuperDraft, is in our rearview mirror, which means teams will be starting their training camps before we know it.
In the meantime, the draft brought a bit more clarity as to who might be participating in that training camp and who could be filling out the first team and the club’s new reserve side.
Despite all four players I profiled in my SuperDraft preview being available, the Caps decided to go with their internal brain trust (how silly, right?) and picked Simon Becher, a forward from Saint Louis University, with their 16th overall pick.
Becher was a consensus first round pick before the draft, for what it is worth, and his conventional stats back up this status. He bagged 14 goals and 10 assists in his junior season, his final one before going pro. This earned him All-American honors, for what that’s worth.
His scouting report makes him out to be a guy who is similar to, well, most every other striker on the Caps’ roster. His profile reminds me a lot of Brian White; a guy who is smart, makes good runs, can press and has a good eye for goal. Some have suggested he could play of White’s shoulder in a two-striker system, something I’m sure Vanni Sartini might experiment with in training camp.
There was some surprise the Caps added another forward, given the glut of players they currently have at the position. But given the likely departure of David Egbo (on loan or a permanent transfer), the uncertainty with Theo Bair and Lucas Cavallini and the team’s general desire to scratch lottery tickets in the draft, I think it makes some degree of sense.
Becher is likely the only player who will see first team minutes, and that’s OK. The Caps have proven they are liable to give draft picks a shot and I would imagine Becher will be given a hard look during the preseason to see what he can do.
The remaining guys seem destined for the reserve team, in no small part because a couple of them are international players. But Luis Felipe Fernandez-Salvador, a Clemson midfielder, Giovanni Aguilar, a Cal State-Northridge midfielder, Theo Collomb, a UNC-Greensboro forward, and Vitor Dias, a Marshall midfielder, all have distinct profiles.
Aguilar intrigues me as a guy who seems like a promising two-way midfielder, one who is technically gifted and can put in a shift defensively. He was pegged as a potential first-round pick (though projecting the SuperDraft is a bit like throwing darts at a board) but there are signs of value here. It’s nice having a home for some of these late-round picks now; worst case is they don’t show out and the Caps retain their MLS rights or earn a small fee for moving them on to a USL side.
And GlassCity and multiple media reports are projecting Forge FC Kwame Awuah as a Caps’ trialist, meaning the team will have another fresh face during preseason.
The move is perhaps unsurprising given the trove of talent in the Canadian Premier League, though Awuah is a bit of an intriguing choice.
With Kwame Awuah trialing with #VWFC, here's a statistical comparison with Diyaeddine Abzi based on their 2021 #CanPL seasons.— Peter Galindo (@GalindoPW) January 13, 2022
Explainer on interpretation, metrics, etc.: https://t.co/NIOX3SjjTp pic.twitter.com/qEeXUDFPen
The charts above show Awuah is a bit steadier of a hand in the back, less dynamic but also an overall solid two-way player. Without Bruno Gaspar around, he seems like he would be quality fullback depth, particularly on the left side, where the Caps lack a natural backup for Cristian Gutierrez.
Ultimately, however, it is just good to see the Caps taking a flier on a trialist after the Aboubacar Sissoko trial didn’t work out a couple years back. It’ll be interesting to see how Awuah fairs.
Shameless Self Promotion
Caleb has a quick (and more statistically grounded) look at the Caps’ four draft picks for you sickos out there who want more information
Best of the Rest
Alphonso Davies is out for a spell after “slight myocarditis” was detected. Wishing Phonzie a speedy recovery
Seattle Sounders have inked Albert Rusnak, the former RSL playmaker, to a designated player deal
For non-Caps SuperDraft news, Charlotte FC selected University of Maryland midfielder Ben Bender as the number one overall pick
Sporting Kansas City star Alan Pulido will miss the 2022 season after undergoing knee surgery