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Coffee with the Caps, Friday July 15

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good Friday morning Caps fans. Its a hot one here but hopefully it is cooler where you are — and you’re getting ready for a lovely weekend.

I’ve had to re-write this column a bit in light of late breaking news: The Caps appear set to acquire Julian Gressel from DC United for $900,000 in General Allocation Money.

This appears to be DC United changing their system with the arrival of new manager Wayne Rooney (still feels weird to type) so they feel comfortable moving on a guy who doesn’t fit in the new system for a relatively cut-rate deal (he was acquired from Atlanta United for over $1.1 million GAM).

For all you people pining for the days of Ali Adnan, well, Gressel is about as good of an approximation of an elite, chance creating wingback as the Caps could have gotten from within MLS. The fact that they got him at a relatively good price (considering GAM/TAM inflation) makes it all the sweeter.

UPDATE: The structure of the deal appears to have a third of the GAM fee being incentives. That makes it an even better trade for the Caps (if he hits the incentives, presumably it will be worth the extra cost).

He is at the top of the league in terms of assists, expected assists, shots, progressive passes and a whole host of other attacking stats, per Football Reference. Defensively, he is less of an addition but if he can do a job and Andres Cubas can return to a clean bill of health, this seems to be less of a big deal.

In truth, I wasn’t particularly pressed about finding a wingback upgrade given that Marcos Godinho and Ryan Raposo have done a job when called upon.

But acquiring Gressel can help open up chances for guys in the middle of the park, as it forces teams to pay more attention to the right wingback position, where Vanni Sartini often likes his teams to play. While Raposo does a decent job here, Gressel is elite at this stuff and can really help open up space for Ryan Gauld to operate and be, well, Ryan Gauld.

This will also allow guys like Raposo to not have to play out of position as much. And while a Gressel/Dajome wingback pairing isn’t super defensive, it has a ton of attacking potential and will certainly be fun to watch.

Stay tuned for (hopefully) official confirmation and a timetable on Gressel’s arrival, given that he sustained what sounds like a more minor injury in last week’s match.

True to form, the Caps got a midweek result after the entire 86 Forever writing staff predicted they would lose (a tradition like no other, truly).

Indeed, the 2-2 draw with FC Cincinnati wasn’t always the prettiest but it was a pretty good result given the sheer quantity of starters who were out and given that they lost another two players, including Cody Cropper.

As I noted in the post match, this as an in-form FCC team that may well wind up in the playoffs in the chaotic as heck Eastern Conference. And given all the other headwinds, I don’t think you’ll hear much grumbling among the fanbase.

Indeed, there were a couple encouraging pieces. That includes the continued solid form of Cristian Dajome, who has been galvanized, perhaps by the season-ending injury of his compatriot Deiber Caicedo.

In any event, Dajome has put together a pretty good run of games, especially given that his position has bounced around quite a bit as Vanni Sartini looks to cobble together whatever lineup he can.

It wasn’t just his offensive production — one goal and one assist — as Dajome put together a nice two-way performance. He switched back and forth between sides of the pitch a couple times and whatever side he happened to be on, he did well keeping up with a dangerous Cinci frontline.

He didn’t quite do enough to crack MLS’ midweek team of the week but his mate, Ryan Gauld, did, with a strong performance from Gauld, including his first goal from open play in some time. This was the type of performance we’ve come to expect after a difficult run of matches, though he continues to struggle to get on the same page as Lucas Cavallini.

But the hero of the midweek was Isaac Boehmer, who was called on to replace Cropper after his injury.

The Caps have a compelling history of keepers making their MLS debuts and playing out of their skulls and while this was not Thomas Hasal circa MLS Is Back, Boehmer still came up with a couple vital saves, including one where he quickly threw the ball out to restart play and start the move that gave the Caps an equalizer.

Cropper has had a few matches of late where he hasn’t done the Caps many favors and while this is a bit harsh (he is the backup, after all, and has generally been solid), sometimes a well-timed save really can make all the difference in terms of galvanizing a team. That’s what Boehmer’s performance did.

Whether Cropper will be back in net or even if any of the other walking wounded will be back for Sunday’s match against Portland remains to be seen. If they aren’t able to play, one has to start wondering if the Caps are cursed.

Though one thing is certain — Vancouver will be sitting pretty if all of our writers predict a derby loss.

Shameless Self Promotion

Yours truly had the play-by-play of the comeback Caps striking again on Wednesday, while Sam has the report card grades for a gutsy performance in Ohio

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