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Coffee with the Caps, Friday December 16

LA v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Christopher Morris - Corbis/Getty Images

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are heading into the weekend with some holiday music and plans for your shopping intact.

It was a somewhat quieter week for at least one of the two Vancouver-area teams (more on the Caps’ nascent CPL rival below), but rumblings continue to circulate about what the team is going to do about their centerback situation.

One thing we know for a fact — Derek Cornelius is headed to Malmo officially for a fee reportedly around $500,000. While I think most of us would have liked to have seen him stick around based on his performance in Greece and the obvious need that exists at the position, that is a nice chunk of change for a guy Vancouver acquired for basically peanuts in 2019.

Meanwhile, another top target, Luis Segovia, appears to be leaving Colombia ... for Botafogo in Brazil. Brazilian media is reporting they are going to snap him up on a free, a good bit of business for the Seria A side and a blow to the Caps, who could have nabbed a pretty good centerback for a limited price tag.

This brings us to the race to sign Mathias Laborda, the Uruguayan centerback playing for Nacional who we discussed a couple columns ago. The Caps appear to have solid interest and all signs point to Laborda departing on a transfer to a bigger club (if my Google Translate skills are to be believed).

If we fire up the old Football Reference, we see an interesting player — albeit one that the Caps kind of already have. Laborda can play both as a right-footed centerback and as a right back, a profile similar to Javain Brown.

The similarities between Brown and Laborda are not extensive (Laborda seems to be a much stronger player in the air than Brown). The Uruguayan appears to be an excellent passer, something that would be a logical fit for Vanni Sartini’s system.

Part of the issue, however, is that Laborda would be another right-footed centerback at a time when literally every CB under contract is also right-footed. This means Vancouver is either kicking the tires on multiple CBs and looking to ship someone else out or is going to jerry-rig someone into the left centerback spot.

If another guy does leave, Brown might be the more logical one given how Laborda projects out. I would be disappointed were this the case but there have been past signs that maybe Brown was a bit disgruntled in Vancouver and he seems to be a guy who could catch on in Europe quite easily. Blackmon would presumably be the other option and he would likely retain some MLS trade value but I have a hard time seeing the Caps getting back what they paid in Garberbucks to get him last year.

This may all be a moot point — Laborda could easily move to another club in a different league. But the Caps seem to be targeting guys who are good on the ball and have some positional flexibility.

This telegraphs an interesting direction for the offseason and might mean they are looking to bring in a couple different centerback options, on top of the already signed Karifa Yao. Centerback competition is never a bad thing — but it also is not the most glaring need given a scarcity of money and international spots. It will be interesting to see how the club gets creative at the position — successfully doing so could be decisive to ensuring they have the freedom to shore up the striker and goalkeeper positions and maybe even add in another wide player, as they appear to be interested in doing.

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