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Coffee with the Caps, Monday July 18

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at FC Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans — hope you all are gearing up for the week ahead with the passion of Vanni Sartini confronting a Portland Timbers assistant.

Well, the most important thing about Sunday night’s derby match was that it didn’t kill of the good vibes.

In seriousness, the Caps had perhaps their best first half of the season, helped Brian White find his 2021 form and got some much needed help from Isaac Boehmer. Some helter skelter defense finally caught up with them in the form of a sloppy penalty, conceded by Tristan Blackmon, but a 1-1 draw was a shabby result by any stretch of the imagination.

The hero of the hour was certainly Boehmer, who turned in a couple truly spectacular saves, most notably an incredible reflexive parry of Claudio Bravo’s shot from close range.

It has been a pretty darn solid start for Boehmer to his senior team career and it adds a new wrinkle to what we assumed would be a two-player competition to be the team’s full-time, starting keeper between Thomas Hasal, who is on the mend, and Cody Cropper, who is not.

Now, the Caps have had a recent history filled with guys having absolutely stormers early in their keeping careers before regressing to some sort of mean. Hasal is the perfect example of this and Cropper appeared to be experiencing something similar before his unfortunate head injury.

Boehmer’s very small sample size make interpreting and comparing his stats to the others difficult to say the least. But he has done something that Cropper has struggled with in the last couple of games: Making the saves beyond what you would expect an MLS-caliber keeper to make.

Sometimes in a clutch situation, a big save not only denies the other team a goal, it also boosts your own momentum. It can restore the confidence of your defense, particularly when an individual mistake is made. That’s the kind of lift the Caps have gotten from Boehmer and they’ve gotten two road results in the process.

Whether this is sustainable is, of course, unclear. Boehmer hasn’t exactly set the world on fire on the reserve team and thus has confident performance in MLS have come as a bit of a surprise. You would expect some mistakes to happen but, for now, he has left the coaching staff with a genuine dilemma ahead of Hasal’s return from injury.

With some big matches coming up, getting the keeper decision right will be of the utmost importance.

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