Good Monday morning Caps fans, hope you all had a lovely weekend and are gearing up for a solid week of work and late fall gallivanting.
We had our first round of roster news drop Friday afternoon and there isn’t much to write home about. In an unsurprising move, the team will move on from Thomas Hasal, Kam Habibullah and Matteo Campagna.
While it is disappointing given the heights that these three players were expected to reach, they all seemed to stall out in their time in Vancouver (to the point where Habibullah was actively on trial elsewhere). Hasal seems destined for the Canadian Premier League once he recovers from injury, which seems like a win for everyone involved.
Ryan Raposo, Simon Becher, Tristan Blackmon, Levonte Johnson and Isaac Boehmer, meanwhile, had their options picked up for next season. No real surprises here — all of these guys are on cheap contracts, play a key role for the Caps or have potential (or all of the above). No reason not to at least keep them on the payroll.
The big decisions about whether to retain Junior Hoilett and Richie Laryea won’t be handled for some time. Laryea seems likely to come back in some form, though I feel he didn’t show enough to warrant a DP tag. If there was a TAM deal available, however, I think that would be perfect — Laryea showed signs that he could be the dangerous threat that Caps fans expected. He also offers something different than the other players on the roster — he just wasn’t especially consistent.
I really don’t have a burning desire to see Hoilett back and, frankly, found his tenure in Vancouver to be fairly disappointing. Marketed as a super sub, it makes sense that he wasn’t going to light up the scoresheet. But zero goals or assists at all is a pretty big letdown. I think he has something left in the tank but this system seems not to be the best chance for him to show that. For a cheap, domestic depth piece, I’d be OK with it. But for anything else, I’d rather take a look elsewhere.
The lone revelation from Friday was that the club is negotiating to keep Russell Teibert and Karifa Yao around.
In seriousness, I don’t really see this as that big of a deal. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be better for all involved if Rusty were allowed to walk and see out his career in a starting role for a CPL side. But if he wants to remain in Vancouver in a Andy Rose-esque coaching/playing role, I don’t see that as a problem. The cap hit would be markedly lower than it is right now, I’d imagine, and given the number of minutes he played this year, I don’t think he’s really in Vanni Sartini’s plans.
I don’t really see why the club is trying to keep Yao around, given that he struggled even in MLS Next PRO. I don’t think he’s an MLS quality defender but, at 23, there is possible room for growth. Maybe someone at the club knows something I don’t.
The club didn’t say whether they were negotiating with Sebastian Berhalter, who is out-of-contract. It is possible Seb wants more playing time or money than a team with Andres Cubas would be willing to give him. But given Cubas’ injury and/or suspension risk (and the fact that you don’t want to run one of the best DMs in MLS into the ground), there seems to be plenty of minutes for Berhalter. Given that this was one of Axel Schuster’s better bargain bin pickups, it seems stupid to let him walk — based off his time in Vancouver, one imagines there will be a line of other MLS teams ready to snatch him up.
Disagree on my attempt to play amateur GM? Pipe up in the comments. But for now, here’s the best links from MLS and beyond.
Shameless Self Promotion
Who should the Caps be looking at bringing in from the Canadian Premier League? Well, we have a few ideas.
Best of the Rest
Round one of the playoffs (finally) wrapped up on Sunday, with Julian Gressel and Columbus cruising through at Atlanta’s expense
Meanwhile, in USL, Phoenix Rising came from behind to notch a PK victory in the championship game
And in the NWSL final, Gotham defeated the Reign to deny Megan Rapinoe a fairytale ending
Congrats to former Caps man Derek Cornelius on winning the Swedish league with Malmo