Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are nearing the end of a long week and the light at the end of the tunnel is coming into focus.
That light includes a rare a Friday night match for the Caps, who have an important date with Minnesota United — a principal rival for the final playoff in the Western Conference. The match being at BC Place is certainly a boost for the Caps but things have been going a little too well as of late so it stands to reason that the other shoe will drop eventually (can you tell I’m a grizzled fan?).
A few tidbits of news this fine morning, most of which fall into the “mostly good” category.
But first the slightly disappointing news: Venezia appear to have picked up the buy option on Damiano Pecile.
Sources: Venezia FC have completed the permanent signing of defender Damiano Pecile from the Vancouver Whitecaps.— Tom Bogert (@tombogert) July 7, 2022
Pecile, 20, is a Whitecaps homegrown and was on loan at Venezia last season. Canadian youth int'l. pic.twitter.com/9lmDtQiGJE
This is certainly not a surprise. Pecile does not appear to be in the Caps’ plans and he had a pretty productive for a Venezia side (9 goals in 23 appearances for their reserve side, I believe) that will be dropping into Serie B next season and certainly need some reinforcements.
Unclear if Pecile had what was needed to cut it in Vancouver with the first team but I would have been curious to see him try, especially given the seemingly limitless chances that Russell Teibert has been given in midfield over the years.
Fare thee well, Damiano. We’ll always have your debut.
Now for a couple incomings: The Caps officially announced that former FC Edmonton striker Easton Ongaro has been inked to a deal with Thundercaps 2.0, coming to the club from Romanian side UTA Arad.
It is fair to say Ongaro’s European adventure didn’t go too hot — he bagged only one goal in six appearances in a relatively short stint there. Presumably he wanted to get more regular minutes and saw the gaping hole the Caps’ have at striker depth, particularly when you account for the year-to-year situation that is Tos Ricketts’ contract situation.
Ongaro was one of the most productive strikers in the Canadian Premier League while he was there, bagging 25 goals in three seasons. His trial run with the MLS NEXT Pro side seems perfect: he gets a chance to re-establish himself in North America and show what he has.
As a cheap, domestic player he has the inside track to be tapped for depth next season in the first team. And if that goes well, it could be a stepping stone back to a much more favorable European deal in the future — Ongaro is only 24 and is hardly over the hill.
The Whitecaps 2 side also confirmed the signing of Bayern Munich product Nick Salihamidžić on a loan deal. The announcement doesn’t make any note of whether Salihamidžić will move up to the first team at some point but one imagines Bayern isn’t sending him over here to play in the reserves the whole time.
I remain ambivalent on this. Salihamidžić is only 19 but there appears to be little indication that he is especially talented (being the son of the sporting director perhaps gives me reason to be more cynical).
23 starts in youth teams, with one assist, is a rather unremarkable record but if he is to get serious minutes with the reserves, he also could develop nicely (he has modest potential in Football Manager for those out there curious). My concern is if there is a handshake agreement to bump him up to the first team, when the Caps have enough fullback competition going on already.
For the time being it is a low-risk punt on a guy most of us don’t have much of a clue about. And getting in the good graces of one of the best teams in the world can’t be a bad bonus, eh?
Shameless Self Promotion
Best of the Rest
Deiber Caicedo went under the knife for his knee injury but the severity still isn’t totally known
#VWFC’s Deiber Caicedo is scheduled to have knee surgery today.— Har Journalist (@HarJournalist) July 7, 2022
The club will have a better idea of what the extent of the meniscus injury is and when he can come back, afterwards. #MLS pic.twitter.com/9o4tSANVIb
Midseason grades for the Western Conference show the Caps ... aren’t totally screwed. Who knew!
A plug for our fearless leader Sam Rowan and the Third Sub Podcast he does with Alexandre Gangue-Ruzic on the state of play for Vancouver
The Canadian Women’s National Team cruised by Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 earlier this week in their first World Cup qualifying match. Next up is Panama tonight
Alejandro Pozuelo has been dealt to Inter Miami, ostensibly to make space for former Juventus star Federico Bernardeschi