Good Friday morning Caps fans. Hope your workweek has gone well and that you all are ready for the weekend and for Canada Day festivities.
In what is objectively the biggest news of the season, Vanni Sartini was true to his word and got up on stage to sing alongside Nickelback during their concert at Rogers Centre earlier this week. It is as amazing as you’d expect, though his voice is actually better than what I thought it would be.
HEYYYY HEYYYY I WANNA BE A ROCKSTAR 🤘🎸
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) June 29, 2023
Vanni was understandably jazzed about the experience:
#VWFC's Rockstar Vanni Sartini talking Nickelback.
“I had a blast, I had a lot of fun. The concert was really good. The band was really kind and polite to me. What I really loved was the hundreds of people that stopped me and talked about the Whitecaps at the concert."#MLS https://t.co/Xp6zQfNojQ
— Har Journalist (@HarJournalist) June 29, 2023
Regardless of your feelings of Vanni’s tactical acumen, the guy is a hoot. Despite not being from the good ole’ boy MLS coaching fraternity (or perhaps because of this fact) he is by far the most passionate coach the Caps have ever had and one of the most unique personalities the league has ever had.
But I noticed someone on Twitter asking the other day if Sartini is MLS’ version of Ted Lasso. This wasn’t meant to be a put down but it rubbed me the wrong way. Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple TV’s hit show as much as the next guy.
Still, there is little doubt that the moniker has been used as a pejorative, particularly against North American coaches (Jesse Marsch at Leeds United comes to mind). Basically, the implication is you are all vibes, no tactics and are a bit of a cartoon of yourself.
And sure, the “Andiamo!” and impromptu stripteases after winning trophies are a bit of a meme. But Sartini has gotten himself off the hot seat for a reason.
It remains to be seen whether the unconventional formation he rolled out last week will be what the Caps deploy the rest of this season, though I imagine it will be used to get them through the Gold Cup window. Beyond that, there are questions about how guys like Ali Ahmed might fit into the equation when the team is all back together (though this is a good problem to have).
But using it against LAFC, knowing who they are going to be starting at CB, and weaponizing Ryan Gauld as a winger? That’s not something I ever saw Ted Lasso do (but I also have a couple episodes left in season three to go).
While the vibes may continue to be good, the Caps have a genuine opportunity here. After taking on a middling (but finally fully healthy) Sporting KC side on the road, they get the final three pre-Leagues Cup matches at home. With at least one match in hand on every team in front of them in the table, they could see themselves comfortably in the playoffs by the time Leagues Cup rolls around, giving them some flexibility on whether they want to punt on the tournament or try and go for another trophy.
In the meantime, hope you all find something that makes you as happy as Vanni Sartini singing a rock song I totally forgot existed.
Shameless Self Promotion
Best never to forget about The Third Sub podcast, with the latest episode running down the latest for both Vancouver clubs
Best of the Rest
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Meanwhile, Canada Soccer has said they might have to consider filing for bankruptcy protections due to their financial state
Axel Schuster said they are actively trying to bring Alphonso Davies back to BC Place to honor him at a match — and confirmed clubs in Europe are sniffing around Bayern Munich’s superstar
No Whitecaps players made the All Star Game roster, which on one hand is kinda BS but also gives the lads a nice rest