Good Monday morning Caps fans, I hope you all had a fine weekend and are successfully gearing up for what comes next.
It was a hard-fought three points earned over the weekend for the Caps, who perfectly executed a smash and grab in Kansas City on Saturday night.
Let’s note the obvious: we do not want a return to the Carl Robinson era and this kind of play every match. But given the rotten, no-good, very bad injury luck right now, it is hard to blame Vanni Sartini for looking at the third match in a week and electing to play defensively.
And to that end, the players did very well. Part of this was down to a Sporting Kansas City team that has struggled mightily all season but Sartini really seemed to nail the scouting report, electing to force mindless crosses from the wings that were largely cleared with ease.
Aside from a free header inside the first minute and Javain Brown being forced to clear a ball off the line late, there wasn’t a ton of danger, despite the Caps largely ceding possession in the second half.
Credit to a few guys. Brown, for one, who effortlessly went 90 minutes for the second time in a week, played in two separate positions and played both very well, including the aforementioned clearance deep in stoppage time to deny a likely equalizer.
Ranko Veselinovic was at his defensive best as well and both Jake Nerwinski and Marcus Godinho turned in surprisingly strong matches.
And big ups to Lucas Cavallini, who continues to be enjoying a real renaissance and is looking every bit the Designated Player we all were hoping for.
Beyond just having the cajones to chip another penalty, Cavallini’s hold up play was nothing short of fantastic in a match where the Caps largely didn’t have men forward and needed Cava to really lean on his big, hulking frame. His deft touch and smooth turn on the ball is often overlooked when you think of his attributes but he was firing on all cylinders once again. Calling him the team’s MVP, particularly given all the injuries, seems more than fair.
This was a vital win, given how rough SKC have looked. Getting back in the playoff picture means beating poor sides and, frankly, we won’t remember that it was a smash and grab if able to find a foothold in the race for the final playoff spot.
This might be too much to hope for but if the Caps can find a way to undo their snake-bitten injury luck (Cristian Dajome limping off in the first half Saturday bodes poorly on this front) it seems they should be able to put a good product on the field, given that Andres Cubas (finally!) got his visa.
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If you want a dissection of the weekend’s performances, we have your post-match recap and report card needs covered.
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