WFC2: Stock Up/Stock Down

The MLS Next Pro season is well underway so I thought it was a good time to bring back my Stock Up/Stock Down series. This looks at the players who helped their chances of one day making it to the first team the most in recent weeks (and the ones who hurt their chances). It’s not necessarily a measure of who the best players are overall (though we do a sort of power rankings at the end), just who has performed well recently. 

Before we get started, a quick word on how WFC2’s season is going so far: extremely positively! The team is currently in 4th in the Western Conference with four wins, two losses, and one draw. The team is very forward-heavy, with most of the more experienced pros playing in attacking positions and a backline made up of mostly teenagers. So every game is wildly chaotic and entertaining. The biggest breakout star from WFC2 last year has been Ali Ahmed. American Soccer Analysis’ G+ model put him at +0.09 G+ per 96 minutes. So far there are six WFC2 players who have played at least 50% of the available minutes and are higher than that. Obviously, G+ is not the end-all be-all, and it’s still a bit of a small sample size, but there is lots to be excited about. 

Stock Up:

Mihail Gherasimencov/18/Left-Back: 

You had better start learning how to spell his name because this is the most exciting Whitecaps prospect since Alphonso Davies. Gherasimencov has stepped straight from Vancouver’s U17 team into professional football and done so with a bang. His defensive play has been excellent and he is starting to show some chops as an attacking threat. He might take a little seasoning before he is ready for the big club but to be as good as he has been in his first professional games, even if it isn’t the highest level of opposition, is extremely impressive. 

Data Via American Soccer Analysis

Elage Bah/18/Right-Back

Elage Bah always seemed like a player who had it in him to break out. So far he has had a much greater impact than he did the previous season. This has mostly come in the form of attacking performance. Bah is an impressive dribbler which has allowed him to register 2 assists and win a penalty in 6 appearances so far. Now, he is still not necessarily the most well-rounded player. He has a lot of defensive moments that have the same energy as when you have fumbled something in the kitchen and are trying to catch it before it falls on the floor. But I feel much more confident projecting him as a potential MLS player than I did last year. He’s probably still another year or two away but he is part of a growing stable of exciting prospects. 

Data Via American Soccer Analysis

Antoine Coupland/19/Winger

I referenced in a previous article that there was a player on WFC2 whose statistical profile was strikingly reminiscent of Kekuta Manneh. Antoine Coupland is who I was talking about. He is a dribbling god but his game is still a little rough around the edges. The next step for Coupland is to turn his dribbling skill into scoring chances with more regularity. He has 2 goals and 2 assists so far, and about 0.51 xG+xA per game. Under normal circumstances, this would be pretty impressive but with the inflated scoring in MLSNP and how good WFC2 is as a team, it’s just above average. But, being above average with one elite skill is great if you’re 19! Coupland still needs development but he is definitely worth getting excited for. 

Data Via American Soccer Analysis


Stock Down

Matteo Campagna/19/Centre-Back:

Now, look, Campagna is still very young so I’m not panicking here. But it’s his 3rd season as a professional and so far it kind of looks like he has all the same problems he had in years one and two. The mechanics of a good centre-back seem to be there (which is part of why I’m not panicking) but he still struggles a bit to impose himself on games.

Data Via American Soccer Analysis


Vasco Fry/22/Defensive Midfielder

Truthfully, it was kind of hard picking two. Ricardo Clark has utilized a very small squad and the vast majority of the players are genuinely doing quite well. But Fry, who made his senior debut earlier this season, continues to show little at the Next Pro level. Considering the other regularly used defensive midfielder is 25-year-old Giovanni Aguilar, this is definitely a position I would be looking to make an addition.

Data Courtesy of American Soccer Analysis

Tier List:

The tier list covers my overall view of each player on the team. They are listed within their tiers in no particular order. I’m also including first-team players who have played (relatively) significant minutes. 

Exciting Prospects:

These are players who are both young and performing well: 

Antoine Coupland, Elage Bah, Mihail Gherasimencov, Max Anchor, Kamron Habibbulah, Finn Linder, Jay Herdman


Dominating a Children’s Karate Class:

These players are dominating the league and putting up gaudy numbers. But they are older than the league’s average age (21.2) so domination is sort of the minimum expectation. They could still be useful to the first team but their ceilings probably are not as high as those in the exciting prospects tier:

Gloire Amanda, J.C Ngando, Levonte Johnson, Giovanni Aguillar 


Well, They’re Young

These players are young and have struggled so far. But, they’re young, so there is no reason to freak out at this stage:

Matteo Campagna, Lucas Dasovic, Christian Greco-Taylor, Joseph Hanson


Well, It’s Early:

These players are older and have not performed terribly well. But there is still a lot of season to go and they could turn things around…but they had better hurry up:

Karifa Yao, Malcolm Johnston, Vasco Fry

Isaac Boehmer:

He doesn’t fit neatly into any of these tiers so he gets his own! Before the season I said I hoped we would finally get a definitive answer on if Boehmer is good or not. I don’t feel that answer has come yet, one way or the other.

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