Good Monday morning Caps fans. Hope you all were not too pre-occupied with the match yesterday to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for the week ahead.
If you decided to flip off the LAFC match early, well, I suppose I can’t blame you, though I thought the frustration in the 86 Forever Twitter replies got a bit hysterical at some point.
In short, I’m not sure what anyone expected. The Caps’ top three/four players are hurt and the midfield is ... something. Sure, Vanni Sartini didn’t make his job any easier by opting for Jake Nerwinski and Russell Teibert over Flo Jungwirth and Leo Owusu but I’m not sure that would’ve been anything more than shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.
The below tweet pretty much sums up my take at this point in the season:
Vancouver have had a really tough opening schedule with like 3 of their 4 most important players not being available, their starting GK asking out 2 days before preseason, and their best players (so far) playing like butt. I'm not super worried (yet)— Kieran Doyle (@KierDoyle) March 21, 2022
But there also are some reasonable questions to be asked about the current roster construction that were perhaps obvious in hindsight, the most glaring of which being why the Caps didn’t put a little more energy in the offseason into nabbing the DP midfielder they’re supposedly shopping around for.
Granted, it is tough to really get a sense of what the current roster looks like when none of the team’s best players have all played a full match together. Lucas Cavallini appears to have taken some real strides and might have the makings of being able to play in a two-striker partnership with Brian White. Caio Alexandre will probably help matters in midfield somewhat, though reinforcements will be needed.
But the second half 2021 strategy of Ryan Gauld and good vibes won’t work anymore. The Caps have gotten a lot of mileage out of guys we didn’t expect them to but one wonders if they’ve just about gotten all they can out of some of these guys.
Maybe this is a bit harsh. Four games of winning with a bit of luck last season shouldn’t be taken as indicative of this team’s quality and four games of losing to (mostly) top quality opposition shouldn’t either.
To be sure, some things are easier to fix than others. Sartini can start by dispensing with the MDS-era zonal marking system on corners. And getting Cava to hold a bit truer to his position, rather than float out wide and try and dribble by three defenders, can’t hurt.
But Sartini has a couple weeks to produce a product that will show real improvement. It sounds as though Ryan Gauld and Brian White will be back to help make that a reality against Sporting KC. Alexandre and Erik Godoy ... probably not so much.
If nothing else, focus on what I said to close out the match last night on Twitter: Things may feel bad but the Canadian National Team will close out a World Cup berth before the Caps kick another ball in a competitive match. Embrace that fact and we’ll see what a couple weeks of training can do to reset things in Vancouver.
Shameless Self Promotion
A recap of everything you may have missed if you turned the match off midway through from Caleb Wilkins
Best of the Rest
Canada’s roster is set for those final three qualifiers. No Alphonso Davies but a pretty stout lineup remains, including Lucas Cavallini and Cristian Gutierrez (and Derek Cornelius, who the Caps are missing dearly)
Charlotte FC nabbed the first win in franchise history against New England on Saturday, which might be one of the most MLS results ever
Atlanta United are adding Ronaldo ... Cisneros, a forward formerly of Chivas
MLS’ media rights deal might underwhelm, reports say