Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are winding down your week and getting ready for a pleasant break this weekend — I know I am.
Another busy week in Caps world as we gear up for the regular season. The first bit of news is another retirement, this time the announcement that Tosaint Ricketts will be calling it a day in MLS but sticking around the club in a more ambassadorial role.
‘Caps fam for life— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) January 31, 2023
Following a 14-year professional playing career, forward @TosaintRicketts announces his retirement ⚽️
Congrats on a great career, Tos! #VWFC pic.twitter.com/7S6xYnlIvk
Much like the Flo Jungwirth announcement last week, this is good news for the Caps in the sense that they are keeping a much respected and decorated player around in some capacity.
Ricketts’ retirement is not unexpected but he is hanging it up after a pretty productive season in the supersub role he came to occupy for the Caps, to good effect. This is a guy who probably could have found another team, either in MLS or the CPL, to keep going with but chose to transition into a different role — one I have no doubt he has the skillset for, based on his teammates’ words about him and his work with MLS Black Players for Change.
The Caps’ striker situation is far from settled (more on that in a moment). But Tos will be missed next season for more than just his on-the-pitch contributions.
The team’s mythical search for a DP striker appears to be nearing its conclusion. Manuel Veth of Transfermarkt first reported the team is in advanced talks to sign Sergio Cordova from Augsburg.
There are some details that will likely need to be worked out here, as Cordova was on loan with Real Salt Lake last season and that club presumably holds his discovery rights.
I think I speak on behalf of most people when I say I am ... whelmed by this idea.
Cordova wasn’t great for Real last year but had an ungodly amount of missed big chances, which people are using to put him down. I actually am less bothered by this — it is a sign that he was getting big chances in the first place and, as we know from Lucas Cavallini, sometimes not scoring can involve a healthy dose of bad luck.
Sergio Córdova had 9 goals last year for RSL in the regular season, and then 2 in the playoffs, before his loan ended— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) February 2, 2023
Was a solid defensive striker, with decent xG numbers (0.41/90). Not much hold-up play/playmaking, but the rest of that ticks a lot of #VWFC ST boxes https://t.co/rRLlhIYCSy pic.twitter.com/6QOBaf8jnZ
In some sense, Cordova is a bit of a sea change from Cava — he isn’t going to help much on holding play up or picking out a pass. But he can track back well and is a bit of a poacher — which might be more of what the Caps need in Vanni Sartini’s system anyway.
Eleven goals in his time with RSL last season isn’t bad, though it might be that this is his ceiling in MLS, which would not put him in DP striker territory.
Indeed, this is my big objection. This doesn’t seem like a particularly well thought out transfer, assuming Cordova is going to be a DP. Most of Schuster/Overheul’s transfers have a clear objective and you can clearly see what is going on. This one seems like the Caps whiffed on their primary targets and are realizing “oh sh*t, the season starts soon.”
I’m happy to be proven wrong and think there is certainly a chance the service from Ryan Gauld and Co. matches or even surpasses what Cordova got in RSL. This just doesn’t seem to be the slam dunk, game changing type of attacking DP that is going to clearly elevate the team.
Best of the Rest
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The switch has flipped and the new Apple streaming service for MLS is live. More on what it means for the Caps
Speaking of Cavallini, he has signed for Tijuana in Liga MX for the back half of their season. Not a surprise that he is headed back to Mexico and Tijuana are sorely in need of goals — a good fit
LAFC is the first franchise in MLS to surpass the billion-dollar valuation
John Herdman will be back for another World Cup cycle with the Canadian national team. Thoughts CanNT fans?