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Coffee with the Caps, Monday August 29

MLS: Nashville SC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning folks, hope you all are having a pleasant start to your work week.

And, hopefully, your weekend went better than the Caps’ playoff hopes which took another significant hit against Nashville SC on Saturday. What was billed as a must-win match quickly came apart at the seams and turned into a catastrophe: a 3-0 loss and a sending off and likely lengthy ban for Lucas Cavallini at a time when they can ill afford to lose anyone else.

There were lots of points of potential frustration in this one. But for some reason it was Cava’s sending off that most occupied my mind.

In a match that was already nearly unsalvageable, Cava took it to a whole new level by appearing to intentionally stamp on the head of Alex Muyl, a boneheaded move anytime but particularly in an age of VAR, where any potential indiscretion is captured in high-quality video.

A lack of discipline has been a consistent and nagging problem for Cavallini over the last two seasons. A striker is naturally only as good as their ability to score goals (something which has also ebbed and flowed for Cava) and you can’t score goals if you’ve been substituted for picking up a silly booking or accumulated too many of them. When you’re a DP, you need to know better.

It is unclear if Vanni Sartini had been hands off on the matter to this point. If he has instructed Cava to dial it down on the pitch, that message has seemingly not gotten through.

To Sartini’s credit, he was pretty blistering in his post-match remarks, saying that the performance was one that merited an apology to fans.

The red card was certainly one that brought dishonor on the team and Cavallini, who has seen the real quality he’s shown this year be overshadowed by, well, stuff like this.

It is very much a possibility that Cava is suspended the rest of the season. In any event, he will see a lengthy ban that will ding the already slim playoff hopes that Vancouver is clinging onto. And I have to think this will seriously damage the goodwill that would otherwise go towards bringing Cava back next season, if only because these suspensions have seriously damaged his value as a designated player to the franchise.

In the final six matches, the bare minimum will be seeing the team play with a sense of pride. The bare minimum will be seeing a level of professionalism that reflects well on the organization. And the bare minimum will be creating something to build off of for next year. The team fell short of that Saturday.

Shameless Self Promotion

Caleb has the gory details of the match review, while Ian doles out a rocky set of post-match report card grades.

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