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Coffee with the Caps, Friday April 15

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at LA Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are gearing up for one last final spring before the weekend hits.

It was a busy week in Vancouver/Canada soccer world, with plenty to run down — just how we like it over here at Coffee with the Caps

The big news came from Tom Bogert at MLSsoccer.com, who reported the Caps are in advanced talks with Ligue 2’s Nimes on signing Paraguayan defensive midfielder Andrés Cubas.

The news jibes with rumors the Caps had been kicking the tires on some midfielders plying their trade in a major European league, with the hang-up potentially being whether the player would move before or after the end of the season (Nimes needs just a few more points to confirm they will avoid relegation out of Ligue 2).

There are still some unanswered questions on whether this will be a TAM or designated player deal. And the timing is still in flux (knowing the Caps’ luck, they’ll get the deal done next week and wait around for eight months on a visa).

Argentinian news outlets, however, confirmed the news and Axel Schuster effectively did the same speaking with reporters Thursday.

A surface-level review of Cubas presents an intriguing player, one who seems to fit the Caps’ needs to a tee.

There is a lot (a lot!) to like here. Cubas effectively reads as a better version of Janio Bikel, able to effectively snuff out attacks up the middle and recover the ball. The above report’s assessment that Cubas is effective at dropping back to the central defensive line to help block attacks is exactly what the Caps have been missing.

Cubas appears to be one of the most effective defensive midfielders in the league and clearly has proven his value on a meh Nimes team, even starting the vast majority of their games when they were in Ligue 1 last season. Being Boca Juniors-trained is a nice stamp of approval as well.

His Football Reference scouting report requires us to go back to that 2020-21 Ligue 1 season. It doesn’t pop out at all ... until you get down to the defensive categories, where he is in the 90th plus percentile on pressures, pressures in the defensive third, tackles, interceptions and more.

While his technical skills appear to be average when compared with his midfield peers, keep in mind this is comparing across all of Ligue 1. He doesn’t have to be Marco Verratti to come into Vancouver and be a better passer relative to the rest of the league. And with Caio Alexandre his likely eventual midfield partner (hopefully ... read on below), the Caps could use Cubas as the defensive specialist he is to great effect.

Schuster made it sound like this might be one that has to wait until the European season is concluded but also said the two teams were at an advanced stage of dealmaking.

All-in-all, this is excellent news. Anyone who has watched the Caps this year knows that a tried and true defensive midfielder is going to be vital to ensuring the backline doesn’t get absolutely ripped apart this year. The departure of Janio Bikel left Russell Teibert as the lone player who can really fulfill this role with any adroitness and ... that still hasn’t gone especially well this far.

Getting Cubas in could be a real game changer. Players who have been starters for lower level Ligue 1/higher level Ligue 2 teams have come in and made an instant impact in MLS in recent years and while Cubas is not as flashy a player as some of those other guys, he will absolutely have a profound effect on the Caps’ trajectory if this one can get done and dusted.

Stay tuned ...

Best of the Rest

The Caps inked Cristian Dajome to a contract extension through 2024, with a club option for 2025. Dajome appears quite happy in Vancouver and given his versatility, he seems like a good one to keep around.

Midfielder Caio Alexandre is out for eight weeks with a fractured hand, an absolutely brutal development for the Brazilian, who was nearing full fitness

Vancouver is back in the running as a potential site for the 2026 World Cup, replacing Montreal. If selected, it could mean a grass field at BC Place ...

Apple TV+ and MLS are working on a deal that would see matches on the streaming platform next year

Seattle Sounders saw off NYCFC and will play Pumas in the CONCACAF Champions League final