Good Monday morning Caps fans and happy new year. Hopefully you are off to a hot start on your new year’s resolutions (gulp) and that 2023 brings lots of joy for you and your loved ones.
In the process of closing out 2022, legitimate news sources (i.e Tom Bogert of MLSsoccer.com) confirmed the Caps were closing in on signing Uruguayan center back Mathias Laborda from Nacional, a player the club has long been targeting.
We’ve covered Laborda’s profile here before and Caleb Wilkins had a much better in-depth story covering what he will bring to the table so I won’t approach this transfer with too fine tooth of a comb.
Nonetheless, this seems to be a pretty good signing for the Caps. If we even look at the baseline stats, Laborda had over 100 starts for a pretty good South American side, even if he wasn’t first choice. He had no shortage of suitors elsewhere in South America (also a good sign) but appears to be favoring Vancouver because of the supposedly better wage package.
That does seem key here — Laborda doesn’t seem like a bargain bin-esque signing. He might not be the next Maldini but it does show this guy is going to be a starter from day one.
The real lone head scratching part about this is that Laborda is right footed, a problem we’ve discussed here before. The Caps have no senior center backs who are not right footed, which means either Laborda or Tristan Blackmon will be playing out of position. I would imagine Blackmon would be the guy, as he played on the left a fair amount last season, but he never looked quite as comfortable doing so. The front office brass clearly decided to target the best CB they could get, regardless of whether they are right or left footed, which is a reasonable posture.
That isn’t a bad idea. I quite like what Laborda brings; in fact he seems like a beefed up version of Javain Brown in terms of what he brings in the air, in 1v1 defending and in his passing contributions. Brown will hopefully stick around for the inevitable rotation that will occur and if you look at the Caps’ two-deep at CB, well, it isn’t looking too shabby at the moment.
The moment of truth will, of course, come down to how the club decides to use that final Designated Player spot. But as the first sizable transfer move this offseason, Laborda is a good (if not exceptional) piece to add to the mix as the Caps attempt to pull everything together and create a real challenger.
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