Good Friday morning Caps fans, hope you all are doing well and gearing up for some rest and relaxation.
It was a turbulent and emotional midweek for the Caps. The good news is they are officially king of British Columbia, seeing off Pacific FC 3-0 to advance to their second consecutive Voyageurs Cup final, which will be hosted at BC Place in two weeks time against CF Montreal.
They did so, of course, despite the nightmare injury to Ali Ahmed, who was injured after his neck snapped back with horrific speed, knocking him out and leaving him with a concussion. The good news, as the Caps reported late Wednesday night, is that Ahmed regained consciousness, was taken to an area hospital and will travel back with the team to Vancouver. That is superb news.
I noted this in the post match but the only real analog to Ahmed’s injury was watching Christian Eriksen collapse during the 2021 Euros. The feeling of uncertainty about what you are watching, only knowing you’re looking at something very, very bad, is terrible and I cannot imagine what it was like to be on the field. The good news, of course, is that this situation was not as bad as it might have seemed for those agonizing 15 minutes and Ahmed had first rate medical attention. He won’t be back on the pitch for some time, presumably, but that is secondary and we wish him all the best in continuing to recover.
Any further analysis of the match seems a bit unfair. The Caps were not especially buttoned up and a team with better finishing (and goalkeeping) would have put them to the sword. But their lack of focus was understandable and they ultimately outclassed Pacific in a way that we did not see two years ago.
But there has been a trend in recent matches of niggling mistakes, with defenders being caught on the ball, passes going awry and fullbacks being caught out of position. Seattle got the train back on the tracks but going up against a high energy, high press St. Louis City side will require an even higher level of precision.
The good news? The Caps have shown they can deliver that precision. Yohei Takaoka remains quite sharp and Andres Cubas has recovered from a rocky couple of starts. And, as Simon Becher’s celebration of the Caps’ final goal showed, the team has a new, powerful motivating factor: Playing for number 22.
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