Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a good week and are ready for a bit of a break. We are now officially in February, the longest (yet somehow also shortest), coldest month of the year — but also the month where MLS begins in earnest.
The Caps have a bit of trade news coming down the pike on this Friday, as well. Har Journalist reported Thursday night that the club had agreed to acquire Sebastian Berhalter from Columbus Crew for $50,000 GAM. By the time you read this, the move may well have been made official.
Berhalter spent last year on loan with Austin FC, though minutes have been hard to come by — he’s made 27 appearances over two seasons with both MLS sides.
Still, at 20-years-old, Berhalter seems to be on the come. His Football Reference stats show a guy who has a high ceiling in progressing the ball into the final third while also tracking back. He has only one assist in his MLS career but, as a deeper lying player, the numbers show he is a pretty capable passer of the ball and the kind of guy that will fit right in with Michael Baldisimo, Caio Alexandre and Leo Owusu.
Indeed, this is likely the midfield move that has been teased, with the club needing another body in after the departure of Janio Bikel. From that standpoint, this seems like a good move — Berhalter will cost a fraction of Bikel’s seven figure salary, is domestic and seems to have a bit higher potential. The midfield room was a bit crowded and the hopeful resurgence of Alexandre will make minutes even harder to come by.
If Caps fans can get over the fact that their team has the son of the much despised U.S Men’s National Team manager on their roster, this seems like a move everyone can get behind. I don’t see much downside here; the worst case scenario is Berhalter sits around, gets some sporadic minutes for a season or two, and then is moved on for about what the Caps paid for him. The best case is a low-cost impact player who finally has his coming out party.
In other roster news, the club announced they have agreed to a contract extension with Brian White that will now run through 2025 (with a club option for another season). It means a nice raise for White, who it sounds like will roughly double his $216,000 per-year salary.
After his performance last year, this was inevitable — and it is a good bit of business for all parties involved. Even at his new salary hit, White is still a bargain for the club if he continues to produce — and there is real reason for optimism that he will. Meanwhile, White gets deserved public recognition for his work and a bit fatter of a wallet.
With all that bit of good news, I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop — which goalkeeper is going to be next in requesting a move out?
In seriousness, here are some links to get your weekend started early:
Shameless Self Promotion
Caleb Wilkins takes a fuller look at the Sebastian Berhalter acquisition and what his prospects are in Vancouver
Best of the Rest
Canada saw off El Salvador 2-0 on the back of one of the weirdest goals you’ll ever see to all but wrap up World Cup qualification. The U.S. and Mexico also won.
A longer look at the rise of the Canadian national team
Alphonso Davies could be out for even longer, as he recovers from the heart complications caused by COVID-19. As always, our best wishes to Phonzie (and anyone else with myocarditis)
For the real nerds out there, a look at roster rules for MLS Next Pro, or Thundercaps 2.0
DeAndre Yedlin is officially back in MLS, this time with Inter Miami