Coffee with the Caps, Monday November 6

Good Monday morning Caps fans. Welp, that was a tough one — hope the rest of your weekend was better before whatever happened on Sunday night.

There will be plenty of #discourse coming out of the Caps’ 1-0 defeat to LAFC, sending them home for the season after a pretty mediocre game from both teams. The thing separating the two sides was a Denis Bouanga penalty, which was the font of most of the #discourse.

Simply put, there is no way Tristan Blackmon and Ranko Veselinovic committed a foul that merited LAFC be awarded a penalty. That was one of the softest penalties you will ever see and it came at a horrible time for the Caps, who started off brightly and were putting a suspect LA backline under duress.

The spot kick very much killed that momentum and gave LAFC probably their best spell of the match before the half. That was probably the most frustrating part of the penalty — it took away the ample confidence the Caps had from the beginning and turned the tide the other way.

The refereeing in general was absolutely atrocious and Vanni Sartini snapped and got sent off after Tim Ford body checked Alessandro Schopf, leading to an LAFC breakway (that was comically called back for offsides). It is a pity that a record crowd at BC Place had to let that buffoonery be perhaps their first taste of MLS. LAFC is good enough — they don’t need some highly questionable calls to go their way to advance.

But it is tough to complain about the refereeing when your side isn’t quite good enough. And while LAFC was there for the taking at times in this series, the gap in quality remained clear. Ryan Gauld and Brian White didn’t show up enough and Denis Bouanga did. The Caps’ defense got found out and LAFC did enough to make sure theirs didn’t. That right there decided the series.

Indicative of the struggles the Caps faced was the decision to sub off Richie Laryea in the 55th minute. That’s a guy Vancouver wants to be its 3rd/4th DP and you’re bringing him off at a crucial juncture for your season. Junior Hoilett came on and didn’t do much. That’s not a great hit ratio for two guys the team was hoping could give them a veteran leadership lift in the postseason (Sam Adekugbe, meanwhile, I thought was quite good. And, in fairness to Laryea, he had a couple dangerous moments).

But, as I said on Twitter, I’m proud to be a fan of this team and you all should be too. The offseason presents a clear opportunity for improvement, particularly with the backline. But the bones of this team are as good as at any point in my time as a fan. Just because Gauld and White didn’t quite click in the playoffs doesn’t change the fact that they both had seasons that will go down in the club’s record books and there are plenty of young players who will keep shining.

Vanni Sartini deserves some scrutiny for this playoff series (and went too far in his criticism of the officiating in his post match comments). But watching him get sent off, only to return the players to the Southsiders to thank the fans for a stupendous turnout confirms that this team has some special vibes. If you need some cheering up after this frustrating playoff roller coaster, just focus on that.

This blog certainly isn’t going anywhere for Silly Season. We hope you won’t be either.

Shameless Self Promotion

Our final post match of the year goes in-depth on how the Caps were knocked out

Best of the Rest

More from Vanni Sartini on [gestures widely] in Sunday’s match

The Caps weren’t the only side to be sent packing in two games — Sporting KC knocked out number one seed St. Louis City shortly before the Caps’ match on Sunday

Elsewhere in Cascadia, the Portland Timbers are reportedly in talks to make Phil Neville their next manager

Meanwhile, the first domino of Silly Season is Luis Suarez will seemingly join Messi in Miami

9 thoughts on “Coffee with the Caps, Monday November 6

  1. FYI- ex Cap, Sergio Cordova, has 1G in 7 games, his usual average- we got lucky in the Turkish club buying him at almost the same cost of what we paid FC Augsburg – about $2.5 mill and we saved $500K on his remaining salary

    isnt it time the Caps get another player who can score and get assists ? we have to stop pissing money away and get another DP the same calibre as Ryan Gauld and be willing to pay a salary of over $2 mill/season

    a $1 mill salary in Cap land just doesnt seem to cut it, especially when its a so-called striker-the list of wasted salary money of $1 mill on strikers is extensive

    its all up to the ownership group to see the benefits in our move up the MLS ladder and increased attendance

    at an average attendance bump of 4 000 at $50/ticket, it comes to well over $3.4 mill for 17 games, more than enough to justify the DP salary

    and the DP salary should not be spent on Lareya

  2. Just wanted to say thanks to the writing team here for a great season of articles! I really enjoyed them, and look forward to hopefully some interesting tidbits over the offseason and another exciting season next year!

  3. The game started out well enough but then the penalty seemed to unglue the caps. The pk was legit. If a foul occurs outside of the penalty area then it’s a free kick. If the foul is inside then it’s a pk. The whole this is soft, harsh, not enough etc is a waste of time. Sartini lost his composure, the caps lost their composure and they didn’t get it back until the 2nd half. The push on Layrea should have been a pk and a yellow card as Layrea was in a dangerous shooting position. I’ll lay some blame on the referee but most of the blame is on the VAR. This was not shoulder to shoulder it was shoulder to back. I’ll be looking forward to MLS Instant Replay where all this is analyzed. I wonder what level of officiating Sartini has achieved or how many top level games he’s officiated. He acts like he knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t. Anyway, VAR is supposed to prevent these officiating errors from happening, but increasingly it’s the VAR making the errors, as was the case between arsenal and Newcastle this past weekend. It not just in mls. Sartini’s problem for me is complete and total belief in the 3 at the back. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. We need to be able to adjust when the 3 isn’t working.

    1. Let’s be clear: Vanni agreed that it was a PK, but like you pointed out, that if that was the standard, the one on Layrea had to be called as well. He only lost his composure after 93 minutes of this consistent inequality was followed by blatant incompetence as a clearly offside goal was only called back because VAR finally woke up. When he entered the pitch it was 2-nil and nobody knew if VAR was even in the studio. Sometimes you have to take a fine to make your point; 10K new live fans saw this display and it is no longer acceptable if MLS wants to be taken seriously.

    2. I think the team should be able to run an effective back four with many of the incumbents already in place.

      Schuster needs to take another shot at finding a striker or forward/winger to provide a different attacking dimension, along with an athletic, ground covering box to box 8 who can do the job in both ends defending or with the upfield press. I also suspect that one of the Academy grad back up keepers might be on the move and the club will then acquire a vet journeyman to back up Takaoka (I thought he was excellent on Sunday night).

  4. the LAFC player should have been given a red card for his studs-up slide into Takaoka

    i thought the LAFC penalty was a legit call, but we should have had a PK call also

    incompetent reffing crew and one can only wonder why– if the head ref is kept for the MLS play-offs, then we dont have to wonder why– who do you think MLS wants in the playoffs- vancouver or LAFC ?? DUH !!!

    the vibes can continue for 2024, but it all hinges on the Ownership group and its willingness to invest– so far, they have proven they really dont care except for the $$$$$$$$$$ they can keep via expansion

    thanks for all your articles- much appreciated !!

  5. I understand that assistant referees are instructed not to call offside on close plays, since VAR will catch any obvious error. But this was not close at all and the AR was completely out to lunch in not recognizing that the pass was offside. There is no excuse for not immediately waving off the goal for offside. Not doing so, after a game in which the officials so blatantly call things in the visitor’s favour and overlook claims from the home side throughout, just reinforced MLS’s biggest problem to 10K new fans: the officiating is not improving. The clear impression most casual fans have, reinforced by the game on Sunday, is that from the assignments to the on-field performance to the bizarre playoff system, everything is done to favour the big market teams. Let 18 teams into the playoffs but set a huge first-round hurdle to kill off the teams we don’t want in the later rounds. And send in some third-string officiating crew to any match that might swing the momentum in an undesirable direction; they’ll know what is expected of them.

  6. While I’m outraged at the penalty call against the ‘Caps from this game, I’m also trying to understand a couple of non-red-cards that should have been shown but weren’t. The first of these was from Game 2 where the LAFC striker was offside and still was late to kicking our goalkeeper in the face and only got a yellow card. I think that should have been a red, but I don’t have any questions as to why a red wasn’t shown.
    The second was in Game 1 that nobody talked about, on Brian White’s solo goal. Chielini was late arriving, laid Brian White out, and didn’t appear even to be aiming for the ball. Yet a red card wasn’t shown, a yellow card wasn’t shown, and nobody seemed to be calling for a card, even on the ‘Caps, perhaps because everyone was distracted by the goal scored by Brian White.
    Why wasn’t any card given on that play? Was it a legal tackle? Is there a rule that fouls aren’t called if a goal is scored? Did everyone just miss it? Did the ref not call it because Chielini is a big famous star and a red card would have upset the balance of the game? Frankly, I thought a red card was earned by that play and would have had a pretty big effect on the outcome of that game in my opinion. Any thoughts?

    1. I remember that foul. Not sure if it’s a red, but certainly a yellow. Rash challenge, nowhere near the ball, completely took White out. But studs were hidden (unlike the Gonzalez studs up challenge to Takaoka’s head). No clue why they didn’t call it though. I guess violent conduct against a player doesn’t matter if said player scores!

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