Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all have had a lovely week and have relaxing weekend plans in store for you. January is flying by and that means MLS will be back before we know it.
This point was driven home earlier this week when the Caps faced off against Hamburg SV in their first pre-season friendly of the year, falling 2-0 to the German side.
In some sense this shouldn’t be a surprise. The Caps certainly have the pieces needed to be competitive but they’re going up against a team who is fit and, based on the fact that they sit second in the 2. Bundesliga, in form.
Still, there were some bright spots, including the positive play of Ali Ahmed, who slotted in at wingback and looked lively. He is one of three guys (alongside Simon Becher and Max Anchor) who got first team contracts this offseason and, no offense to the other two, seems the most likely to take advantage of the glut of games to get some starts, even at a crowded wingback position.
While Anchor will be on the roster, there are rumblings that the Caps are kicking the tires on another goalkeeper option, Nikita Haikin, a Russian keeper who just recently saw his contract with Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt, where he seemed to start pretty regularly over his three year stint with the club.
There were rumblings that Haikin was training with the club in Spain, something that turned out not to be true and now it appears the Caps are looking elsewhere for any sort of keeper option.
Given the current international spot situation, I suppose this makes sense. Most MLS observers are, like myself, against burning an international spot on a keeper.
But comments from Vanni Sartini have underscored the need for a new face in the keeper room. The domestic/American options have dried up, unless the Caps are willing to splurge in a trade, and the club desperately needs an upgrade on their current options.
The team will play enough games to give Hasal a chance in goal, so as not to totally nuke his development, but if the club needs to burn an international spot on an upgrade, I personally am all for it.
Shameless Self Promotion
If you missed the friendly and want a recap, Sam Rowan has you covered.
Best of the Rest
Rest in peace Anton Walkes, the Charlotte FC player, who died in a boating accident. Our thoughts are with his loved ones and teammates
Indications that the Caps will get news of their Leagues Cup draw today, which is reportedly LA Galaxy and Leon.
Mañana se darán a conocer los grupos de la Leagues Cup como torneo oficial entre Liga MX y MLS— Fernando Cevallos (@FerCevallosF) January 19, 2023
Chivas jugaría contra FC Cincinnati y Sporting KC
América contra Columbus Crew y la nueva franquicia de St. Louis City
Galaxy de Chicharito contra León y Whitecaps @FOXSportsMX
The Caps are hoping the European pre-season means a bit of European quality rubs off on the team
MLS is not happy that IFAB isn’t going to let them give concussion subs a trial run