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Coffee with the Caps, Monday February 6

MLS: Preseason-Vancouver Whitecaps at Charlotte FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Good Monday morning folks, hope you all had a restful weekend and that the vibes are good heading into this week.

The Caps were in action, making up for their shortened friendly against DC United in the midweek to play 135 minutes against Charlotte FC. Simon Becher nabbed the lone goal and the two sides played to a 1-1 draw.

If you’re curious about the highlights, here you go:

If you don’t want to watch, well, it was a fairly straightforward affair. A deflected cross flummoxing the keeper was the one that Charlotte FC put in, while Becher latched onto a nice through ball from Ali Ahmed (!) and, despite scuffing the finish a bit, grabbed the equalizer.

Cristian Dajome looked solid and dangerous and probably should’ve had a goal of his own in the first 45 minutes and Julian Gressel looked solid, though he had a couple crosses that no one could really do anything with (perhaps a new striker would have done better?). Most of the Charlotte FC chances came from distance, outside of the box, a bit of a silver lining.

Moreover, the longer match allowed for basically everyone on the senior team and a few MLS Next Pro guys (Joe Hanson and Vasco Fry) to get long looks of at least a half hour. Levonte Johnson made a welcome appearance, though he remains unsigned.

The Caps will finish off the tournament in Palm Springs, taking on Toronto FC on Wednesday in a rare pre-season Canadian derby.

Meanwhile, for your biweekly transfer updates, Vancouver is closing in on the signing of Yohei Takaoka, which media reports indicate is signed, sealed and delivered. Takaoka’s club, Yokohama Marinos, have even confirmed that he is traveling to finalize a transfer.

I maintain that this is a good signing. Our pal Caleb Wilkins dives into the deal much more deeply but our basic takeaways are the same: Takaoka might not be the best keeper in MLS but he will certainly be an improvement on what the Caps had last year, which in and of itself will have a pretty profound impact on the team’s results.

A better keeper could save 10 or more goals over the course of the 2023 season compared with the year prior and it would save the considerable headache that came from rotating keepers due to poor form. Thomas Hasal remains as a deputy to help cope with the high volume of matches, meaning he can hopefully continue his development as well. A win-win (hopefully).

Shameless Self Promotion

You should go read Caleb’s analysis of both Takaoka and Sergio Cordova, whose transfer appears to be nearing its completion as well. While still disappointed in the Cordova move, there is plenty of material to fuel the copium — or to continue to be pessimistic

Best of the Rest

Pedro Vite has a full season under his wing and is back in the manager’s good graces. Can he soar to new heights?

Simon Becher has been the Caps’ most prolific scorer this preseason and is now fully on the first team. What can he contribute?

MLS’ debut at the Club World Cup didn’t go so well, as Seattle Sounders were eliminated by African champions Al Ahly

Plenty of Whitecaps academy players make the cut for Canada’s CONCACAF U-17 Championship