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Coffee with the Caps, Friday September 30

Seattle Sounders FC v Vancouver Whitecaps FC Photo by Christopher Morris - Corbis/Getty Images

Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all have had a good week and are gearing up for a well-deserved rest.

The international break has drawn to a close and none too soon for CONCACAF sides, who generally speaking got battered. Canada was one of the few who could save face, though their 2-0 defeat to Uruguay was suboptimal.

The loss featured just two shots on target, in what could be interpreted as a sign of how far Canada has to go to become a real contender on the international stage. While the match was humbling, I think this is perhaps an overreaction. And I would imagine Canadian fans will be happy to see Stephen Eustaquio really shine and the team’s best players look to be in prime form for the World Cup. Bad results happen but at least the existential crisis is several levels above that of the U.S. (sigh ...).

The upshot of all this is MLS returns this weekend, with the Vancouver Whitecaps facing Austin FC in a vital, do-or-die match.

That’s because the Caps technically still have a shot at the playoffs, somewhat improbably, though the odds are good that those chances will be reduced to 0 ahead of Decision Day.

Suffice to say, scoreboard watchers will be big San Jose Earthquakes, LA Galaxy and Sporting KC fans — and that is, of course, predicated on the Caps beating Austin FC. The one break in the Caps favor is that Austin don’t have a ton to play for aside from pride and Sebastian Driussi’s MVP campaign. They have already wrapped up a home playoff match and have no mathematical way of catching LAFC for first place in the conference.

I wouldn’t hold your breath that all this works out. But, then again, it doesn’t really need to. Vancouver has shown what they are capable of being in the last few matches and while it is disappointing it took until they were literally on the brink of being eliminated from playoff contention for these types of performances to take hold (one wonders where this was against Chicago or Nashville or San Jose), I suppose its better late than never?

The status of Ryan Gauld and Andres Cubas remains unclear as of this writing, though the international break was certainly a boost to the odds of returning both of them. Both of those players being in the starting XI could well dictate whether Vancouver will have something to play for against Minnesota United on decision day.

Oh and a brief loan update. Caio Alexandre has been on a quest in Brazil to cement himself as the most befuddling Caps signing in recent memory.

My Portuguese isn’t great but it is good enough to let me know that Alexandre scored a winner against Flamengo in Serie A, his first goal of the season after only three matches back in Brazil. To add insult to injury, he never had a goal in MLS :(

Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong with this transfer, went wrong. But with the pre-Cubas central midfield struggles and Alessandro Schopf not yet convincing, the “what if?” will only keep growing bigger and bigger with every solid performance Alexandre makes a continent away.

Shameless Self Promotion

Everything you need to know about Saturday’s tilt with Austin FC. Get your lineup predictions in as well!

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