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Coffee with the Caps, Monday July 4

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

Good Monday morning Caps fans. Today it is our turn (the U.S. that is) for a national holiday; — for everyone else I imagine it is just like a normal Monday. If that’s you, we hope your week is off to a fine start.

If you’re in need of some good vibes, you only need to think back as far as Saturday night and the sheer joy of seeing Andres Cubas’ long range missile hitting the back of net, with nothing that Maxime Crepeau could do about it.

Indeed, the LAFC win will be a famous one, not because of any street justice that it administered to Crepeau but because it shows what the Caps can do on their day. Sure, the away side had a rotated squad but plenty of danger remained. And in the second half, the Caps really earned that win.

This was not an MDS or Carl Robinson smash-and-grab win. It wasn’t one sealed with a fortunate penalty kick. It was one where the Caps played a pretty open, attacking-minded style of play and finally found it pay off in the second half.

Credit for this can, of course, go to Cubas, who was undoubtedly the man of the match (again). But after a season mired in the doldrums of getting to know a new league and country, it was Pedro Vite who really made his mark on the game when he came in as a second half substitute.

Looking at Vite’s stats are a bit misleading. The Ecuadorian had a shot and two key passes, along with a 94% pass completion rate — good numbers but not much different than, say, Brian White.

But it was Vite who helped White really sing. Immediately after he came on, he helped create the Caps’ best two chances of the match, including a shot White dinged off the crossbar. He continued in this vein throughout the last half hour.

I’m not sure if Vanni Sartini turned to Vite because he was short of options, given the injury to Deiber Caicedo, or if he has genuinely seen improvement in training. Fitness and motivation booted Vite out of Sartini’s good graces and I think many people, myself included, wrote this year off as an acclimation period. Next year, I figured, would be where Vite would see more meaningful playing time.

But with Caicedo’s injury, that time is now. And Sartini’s gushing post-game interview, in which he proclaimed Vite as the man of the match, shows his manager gets that as well. Cristian Dajome looked decent enough on Saturday and also helped contribute to seizing the tide of the match.

But replacing Caicedo will be down to more than one player — exactly why I advocated kicking the tires on a new winger over the summer (something that is still a good idea, even if Vite continues his good form).

At a time, however, when injuries and frustrations have led to rumors that another promising youngster, Caio Alexandre, wants a return to Brazil, it is reassuring that Vite is showing glimpses of what he can become. There is no reason not to give him a chance in the starting XI moving forward, particularly given Dajome’s positional flexibility. His crisp passing and dribbling and good vision for the game was impressive given his long layoff — imagine what can happen if he gets a proper run of matches?

Shameless Self Promotion

If you want to relive Saturday, we have you covered in our post-match recap and report card.

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