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Coffee with the Caps, Friday May 20

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

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are having a good week and have big plans for your weekend.

It was a good midweek from a purely soccer standpoint, with a late penalty sealing another home victory for Vancouver. Of equal importance was the substance in the result, where the Caps showed some clear improvements — against one of the best teams in the Western Conference, no less.

It was not a perfect performance, of course, and the pivot back to a three centerback system was not warmly welcomed by fans, myself included.

But for a team that has struggled to create chances of substance this season, it was pretty fun to see guys like Ryan Raposo and Deiber Caicedo firing on all cylinders.

And Lucas Cavallini? He’s been excellent, finally looking the DP signing he was intended to be. So impressive was his work rate, hold up play and chance creation that he wound up in the MLS Team of the (mid)Week.

But this column cannot be about the match — no, no, no. Not when the biggest day of the year occurred this week (outside of kit release day).

Yes, instead we must focus on the semi-regular MLS salary dump and the parsing of who is underpayed, who is a chump and whether the Caps are cheap, stingy bastards after all.

On the last front, it is worth noting the Caps are pretty inoffensively ranked. Sure, they aren’t among the highest spending teams in the league but they’re in a group with four or five other sides basically at about the same wage bill. And Toronto FC on this list is proof that spending more doesn’t necessarily mean much.

The actual rundown of salaries provides some interesting fodder for discussion. Here are a few that stood out but I imagine people will have some #takes for the comments.

  • Javain Brown, $97,000: Yeah, its been a rough year for Brown, who has not quite been able to maintain his rookie form and on a better team would likely have been dropped. But for a guy to sign a new contract and only see his pay rise to $97,000? That’s a very club-friendly deal and if he is able to kick back on it would look even more like a bargain. Either way, relatively inexpensive squad players who can fulfill different roles on the team (think Jake Nerwinski but, ideally, better) are worth their weight in gold in MLS. The most obvious bargain on the team is either him or Sebastian Berhalter ($127,000).
  • Deiber Caicedo, $331,000: Inflation is a thing in MLS too, with the minimum salary rising, and $300k doesn’t buy what it used to. Caicedo makes less than Vite, despite clearly being ahead of him on the pecking order, and makes under half of what Cristian Dajome makes. I think you could argue Caicedo should make more but credit to Dajome for getting a healthy raise, one that has been well earned.
  • Florian Jungwirth, $592,000: It isn’t really the Caps fault that Jungwirth makes more than every other CB on the roster (Erik Godoy makes $550,000) but in light of his poor play to start the year, it strikes a discordant note. Jungwirth was worth it at the tail end of last year but appears to have fallen off a cliff in 2022. Need to replace him with a younger, cheaper option at some point.
  • Janio Bikel, $438,000: The entire midfield is a bit of a wreck ($500k for the oft-injured Caio Alexandre; $491k for Russell Teibert, lol) but I focused on Bikel as a way of hoping Venezia can find some money in the couch cushions to pick up his purchase option. I liked Bikel a lot but this is money that can be moved elsewhere.

If you want to scope out the rest of the squad or gawk at other teams, the full database is here.

Shameless Self Promotion

A recap of the pertinent details from Wednesday’s match and the report card grades you are all dying to know. And if you want a more 10,000 foot view, Caleb runs down where things stand after 10 games and ... the answer is complicated.

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