Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all took some time to bask in the first win of the season.
I unfortunately could not watch the match (or do this column on Friday), as my day job was absolutely bonkers the last week. The good news? I’m back and getting caught up on everything I missed, just in time for a derby next weekend.
The 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City was perhaps not a masterclass in, well, anything but it was a competent performance from the Caps against a playoff-caliber team (and gives me some bragging rights out here in SKC territory).
It was particularly encouraging to see Ryan Raposo turn in a good performance. One imagined Raposo grabbing a few more goals given his prolific collegiate performance but it was better late than never for him to get his first MLS tally.
Indeed, Raposo seemed to have a strong showing out of position. His passing was quite good and he found himself in space on the lefthand side a few times, working some nice balls into the box for Lucas Cavallini et, al. No real gilded edge chances created but a pair of key passes and connecting on a couple of crosses isn’t a bad afternoon my any means.
And one could easily see him getting caught out but that never appeared to happen — he stood his ground pretty well. He only won one out of six duels and clearly doesn’t look fully comfortable in the left wingback role but it fared better than past experimentation with his position.
I’m not sure I see this as a real long-term plan for Raposo’s development in Vancouver. Still, Vanni Sartini clearly has seen something he likes in Raposo while training and thinks it fits in with his play style as a wingback. Given the solid, if fledgling performance, Saturday, maybe there are some legs to it.
Certainly, his man of the match showing should be an argument to give Raposo another look next week against Portland, perhaps again in the wingback position.
A lot might be dependent, however, on the status of Tristan Blackmon, who excited in the waning minutes with an injury after a clash of heads with Ranko Veselinovic. This would be a real blow for the Caps, as Blackmon has been the team’s standout player this season, something true again on Saturday. His presence makes me feel a bit better about the midfield and wingback situation and being down the team’s two best CBs (Erik Godoy does not appear to be near a return) will leave me nervous ahead of thee Cascadia clash.
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