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Coffee with the Caps, Monday August 22

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MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Real Salt Lake Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a lovely weekend and are gearing up for whatever the work week has in store.

It was a pretty good result, all things considered, Saturday night against the Caps’ former landlords, Real Salt Lake. This week it was Julian Gressel, a second-half substitute, that ran the late show and they walked away with a point.

The result leaves them in 7th place, barely clinging to a playoff spot albeit with basically everyone behind them with a game in hand.

I didn’t watch the match Saturday live but I thought, based off the highlights, that a draw was a pretty fair representation of the match. I also thought it was a solid performance, particularly missing a few regulars of the starting XI. It isn’t hard to believe that, with a full 90 minutes of Julian Gressel, the lethargic first half is turned around and the Caps walk away with a win.

After a relatively slow couple of first matches, where you could see the potential in glimpses but not the full picture, Gressel has proven why he is the transformative player he was billed as when acquired from DC United.

His chemistry with Ryan Gauld, who assisted on the equalizer, has just been sizzling and it is the second time in as many games the two have connected on a goal, after Gressel’s lovely assist against Colorado. Both appear to be elevating the play of the other in a way and it couldn’t be happening at a better time.

Simply put, these two are probably going to need to carry the Caps to a playoff spot.

Its been a trying year for Cristian Dajome, whose two goals and four assists are not where many of us thought he’d be, though he seems to be a victim of getting moved around from position to position. Alessandro Schopf is showing moments of quality but still seems to be finding his feet, both in fitness and form.

Credit also needs to go to Thomas Hasal, who showed moments resembling his “brick wall of Hasal” days in MLS Is Back in 2020.

He wasn’t as adept at coming up with that big save earlier this year but he had a couple to keep the Caps in it on Saturday night (as did Zac MacMath, who is having an excellent season for RSL and its good to see the former Caps man succeeding). If Hasal can keep this form, even if it isn’t Maxime Crepeau-level, it will still be an improvement on what the Caps have seen so far this year and could give them a lift just when they need it most.

I’m still skeptical of the Caps’ playoff odds, but Vanni Sartini isn’t. And its hard not to agree with him when he said in his post-match press conference that “if we play like this next game(s), we go the playoffs.”

Duplicating good form over the course of the season has been the Caps’ issue to date. But after a week of two positive performances and a big playoff six pointer coming up in a week against Nashville SC, maybe Vanni makes a good point.

Shameless Self Promotion

A joint post-match/report card effort from Sam has all you need to know about Saturday’s match

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