Coffee with the Caps, Monday September 18

Good Monday morning Caps fans. Hope you all had a lovely weekend and that the Sunday scaries didn’t hit too hard last night.

There was nothing for the Caps to be scared of in Toronto, though they still made things mildly interesting for themselves, conceding first against lowly TFC.

They then proceeded to roar back and grab control of the match, bagging two goals but, in fact, that total could have been much higher. The Caps turned on the afterburners at about the same time that Toronto lost interest in the match.

I commented in the post match on how striking Ryan Gauld’s performance was in helping to regain momentum and put considerable pressure on TFC with his work rate and pressing. This has become a hallmark of Gauld’s game and it came as the home side’s high priced, better known DPs were not particularly interested in any of those duties. Indeed, Lorenzo Insigne was largely quiet after his inch perfect assist on DeAndre Kerr’s match.

At the same time, Gauld was ascendant. He played some truly breathtaking balls, including his assist on White’s goal, and had a couple of other passes that were impressive, even by the Scot’s own lofty standards. There were some other impressive performances (White, Ali Ahmed, Ryan Raposo) but none on this level.

The performance wasn’t as dominant as it could be but it was more than enough to get a crucial three points. The Caps’ tour across North America is over halfway through and they remain not just unbeaten but positioned in the top four of the Western Conference, which would see them host a playoff game at BC Place. With games in hand, they have a chance to improve upon that even further.

First, a key date with Houston looms. The Dynamo might be the best story in MLS this season and Ben Olson has them playing some of the best soccer of anyone in the league presently. They also have made their home a fortress and will be fired up by the possibility of leapfrogging Vancouver in the standings.

It has been awhile since either Houston or Vancouver could credibly say they are among the top teams in the conference. But here we are, with a month left in the season, and that is certainly the case. Long live MLS.

Shameless Self Promotion

More schadenfreude and analysis of the win over TFC, plus report card grades. Meanwhile, Caleb breaks down what went wrong with Sergio Cordova’s stint in Vancouver.

Best of the Rest

If you haven’t read the Charles Boehm profile of Ryan Gauld, it is well worth your time

How the promising start to the road trip is lifting the team

Messi’s first conspicuous absence from a match didn’t go unnoticed, both by fans and a losing Inter Miami

The Rapids’ supporters are fed up with their management, staging a walkout during the team’s 2-1 win over New England


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