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Coffee with the Caps, Monday April 11

MLS: Portland Timbers at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a good weekend and are mentally preparing for week ahead.

Why watch the second half of the Caps/Timbers game when you simply could snort cocaine and ride a motorbike out a of a helicopter? The roller coaster ending to what began as a fairly drab affair was, if nothing else, entertaining and a potentially welcome alternative to getting blown out.

But in many ways it was the most frustrating game imaginable to watch.

Three goals stemming from defensive miscues, including the third, which came right after the Caps appeared to not just be getting back into the match but seizing control of it. An anemic offense that only kicked into gear in the 60th minute — after the team was already 2-0 down.

One admires the fight of the squad, particularly given the nature of the derby, but the wild match ultimately did little to address the questions that remain about this squad in every facet of the game. Even Thomas Hasal probably could have done better on the third goal, though he hardly was the main culprit for anything in this match.

Some things were instructive, however, and present a potential way forward. The productivity of Sebastian Berhalter as a number six was magnified when Vanni Sartini elected to keep Berhalter on the pitch and instead pull the plug on Russell Teibert, replacing him with Pedro Vite.

Vite proceeded to put up three key passes in the span of a half hour, make many more daring runs into the box and generally look like the threatening attacking midfielder the Caps were hoping for when they signed him this past offseason.

One could argue (probably correctly) that going with this arrangement when the Caps are not two goals down presents a whole host of problems defensively. Having Berhalter as the most defensive minded midfielder on the pitch leaves something to be desired.

But I would argue the midfield was not as porous as it has been against Portland and the goals were down to some form of disorganization on the backline — another problem that must be solved but one that will hopefully be helped by the full return of Tristan Blackmon to the starting XI after a bit of a knock in the Sporting KC match.

One hopes Caio Alexandre will be ready for primetime sooner rather than later to help balance things out, as he remains a piece to the puzzle the Caps are sorely missing. Still, Berhalter brought some of Alexandre’s best pieces to the table, including some really nice long balls forward and some deft switches of play. It is only a few matches in but his signing from Austin FC seems to be an astute pickup and another win for the nascent scouting team.

Vancouver will now enter a period where they will have to pick up points against some Eastern Conference rivals in Montreal and Toronto, as well as an Austin FC team that is more dangerous than people perhaps expected. They will need to look more like the team that showed up for the final 30 minutes Saturday night if they want to change their fortunes around.

Shameless Self Promotion

Our match recap and report card have all the details if you, like many of us, are still trying to process what happened in the Caps/Timbers match.

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