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Coffee with the Caps, Monday May 23

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Charlotte FC Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all are well rested after the weekend and are not in health and safety protocols.

If you had told me entering Sunday’s match that the Caps would lose 2-1, I would probably have considered it a pretty good result given the mountain of adversity they were facing heading into the proceedings.

If you would had asked most fans the same question after Vanni Sartini opted for injured 17-year-old Max Anchor in goal, I think many secretly would have been surprised that the damage was only two goals.

So it is ironic then that the winning goal for Charlotte FC Sunday was as gutting as it was.

One moment of inexplicable defensive error from Ranko Veselinovic, among others, undid what was a strong performance, filled with heart. Even still, I contend Charlotte should have been whistled for a foul in the build-up to the goal, with the no-call handing the home side a winner that, quite frankly, flattered them.

Indeed, while Charlotte was peppering the Caps in the first half, one wondered how many they might put past Anchor.

But between the two goals, the youngster made a pair of saves, collected a couple crosses and had little else to do — either the home side was hesitant or unable to put shots on goals or the Caps did well to keep them at bay, preventing any gilded edge chances.

All the while, the Caps had more momentum and possession in the second half and had some moments of promise themselves, though in fairness they were unable to create anything as obvious as the chance leading to Tos Ricketts’ third minute tally.

On the whole, however, there were lots of good performances. Credit Javain Brown, who was buckled in and ready to go, even when things were getting a bit helter skelter. Eight clearances/tackles and some sharp 1v1 defending showed the kind of form we grew to expect from Brown last season.

Both wingbacks, meanwhile, were quite good, even while being asked to play more conservatively than usual, owing to the obvious personnel issues. Marcus Godinho deserves particular credit for coming off the bench to put in a good shift.

And all three players in the attacking band looked good given the limited possession, even though a Lucas Cavallini up front would’ve been a nice boost (cries in yellow card accumulation). I tell ya what, Tos Ricketts looks darn fit and finished for 34, going on 35.

I’m hard-pressed to say much negative after that one. Given the circumstances, I am nervous about the midweek Voyageurs Cup tilt given, well, history.

But this is a team that has been up against a tremendous amount of adversity over the last couple of seasons. The way this season has gone has only served to compound those difficulties and the way the last week has gone really has added to things. No team in the league has had as much go wrong in the last two years than the Caps.

And despite that, the players fought with heart and nearly got what would have been a massive result and a tremendous boost for a side looking for momentum. If they can play with this much determination amid a COVID-19 outbreak, one imagines a potential late season surge with Andres Cubas/Caio Alexandre/hopefully no dumb injuries/illnesses.

A special shout out to Max Anchor, who is the latest in a surprisingly long line of Caps youth keepers to steal the hearts of neutrals everywhere. He looked shaky 10 minutes in but recovered very well and notched some solid saves down the stretch. Anchor clearly has a bright future and his experience for the Canadian youth teams prove as much. Now that he’s signed, sealed and delivered with a homegrown deal, I’ll be excited to see him again in a pro match — hopefully not under quite so much duress.

Shameless Self Promotion

Caleb runs down the latest batch of report card grades from Sunday’s weird match.

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