Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are finishing off those final tasks at work before the weekend arrives in all of its glory.
It was a glorious midweek for Vancouver, who dispatched LA Galaxy 3-0 behind an excellent second half that made everyone wonder “where has that been for the last month?”
This wasn’t even the Caps’ first choice starting XI, with Vanni Sartini electing to rotate some ahead of the Seattle match this weekend. In many games this season, that has been a death knell — but not on Wednesday.
Indeed, most of those depth pieces had standout performances on Wednesday, or at least did far better than I expected when I cringed upon seeing the initial starting lineup revealed.
Jake Nerwinski turned in one of his better performances this season, effectively shutting down an altogether toothless Galaxy team on the right side. Luis Martins had some excellent crosses, including the one that led to Pedro Vite’s first MLS goal.
Leonard Owusu had a rocky first 15 minutes or so but settled in to be a pleasantly surprise, really helping to advance the ball in a way that we haven’t seen out of Russell Teibert (and, frankly, in a way Owusu has not for much of this season). He powered several of the team’s more dangerous counter attacks and sent them on their way.
And Ryan Raposo, returned to work as a full-fledged attacker rather than a wingback, was effective and creative, working well with the other players in the attacking band.
Most of these guys may well not be in a Whitecaps uniform next season (Raposo is the only one I would say should be brought back). But it was a most welcome development to see some of these fringe guys turn in productive performances, even if it came when the playoffs are largely out of sight.
Indeed, it was almost humorous to see such a strong performance only after the Caps were on the brink of being eliminated from playoff competition, when such intensity against San Jose, Colorado and Nashville would have changed the trajectory of their season.
For a year defined by weirdness (injuries, tactical decisions, borderline inexplicable inconsistency), it is perhaps altogether fitting that the team might close the year on a hot streak. Or they could go out and get wrecked against Seattle on Saturday — you really can never be sure.
Shameless Self Promotion
A recap from yours truly on the Caps’ enthralling second half against the Galaxy
Best of the Rest
Pedro Vite’s excellent performance on Wednesday earned him a spot in the MLS Team of the Week
Vancouver’s oldest youth soccer club is in turmoil after dispute with the organizing body
Canada won’t be getting new kits for the 2022 World Cup and after seeing the U.S. jerseys, they might not be upset about that
Jonathan Osorio turned down a transfer offer from Greek club Panathinaikos and will stick around MLS until after the World Cup
Austin FC clinched a playoff spot Wednesday, while the race for the final spot has only gotten more interesting with Galaxy and Real Salt Lake struggles