January 21, 2018
Whitecaps Roster Preview
Another season is almost upon and it’s time to take a look at the roster as we head into pre-season training. As expected, there was some turnover from the 2017 squad that was eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs with barely a whimper.
Gone is a lot of veteran experience and some homegrowns as well. Much travelled Sam Adekugbe has now found a home with Valarenga while Marco Bustos is on loan in Mexico with Atletico Zacatepec. Fellow youngster Deklan Wynne was signed and and then traded to Colorado for Garber-bucks.
As expected, there are many new faces:
Kei Kamara – The snark in me says that the Caps have completed a hattrick of over 30 strikers (Miller, Perez and now Kamara). In all seriousness though, Kamara could be the forward that fits what the Caps are trying to do. At 6’3”, he provides a dimension that has been missing since the much maligned Omar Salgado. With the Caps having been a proficient bunch when it comes to converting set pieces, Kamara adds even more height with Kendall leading the charge at a behemoth 6’5”
Anthony Blondell – He joins the team after leading Monagas win the Venezuelan Primera Division tallying 24 goals along the way.
Efraín Juárez – the newest acquisition from Monterrey in Liga MX. A holding mid capable of playing right back is like Robbo’s dream player. Seemingly versatile, but indication is that he’ll be in the midfield, potentially in a 3-5-2 formation. Interesting to note that he was an interested spectator in the 2016-2017 CCL Semi-Final when #ourclub travelled to face Tigres UANL at Estadio Universitario. As a member of Tigres’ most hated rival, Juárez found himself supporting the Caps, not knowing that one day he’d be joining the club.
Brian Rowe – Acquired in a trade with LA Galaxy, he will be Marinvoic’s backup with Ousted now in DC and Spencer Richey on loan in Cincinnati. While it’s too early to tell what sort of workload Brian will have, one can speculate that he’ll at least get the Voyageurs Cup matches and when Marinovic may be away on international duty.
Doneil Henry – I’m gonna cut him some slack. He was 18 when he made his debut with TFC before they started spending money wisely. Maybe his time with West Ham did him some good.
David Norman Jr – Another homegrown signing straight out of the Residency Program. It remains to be seen whether he’ll end up like Bustos and Adekugbe or maybe he’ll find a way to stick.
Myer Bevan – A New Zealand U20 international, his half season with WFC2 netted 3 goals in 13 overall appearances. Given a potential shift in formation, could this be the opening that Bevan needed? How much competition will he to Hurtado?
As with every team, people wonder who the Designated Players are:
Kei Kamara (replaces Fredy Montero)
Matias Laba (option was declined, still in negotiations)
As for the Canadian content still on the roster:
Alphonso Davies – with the European giants starting to swarm, this could be a make or break year for the youngster.
Marcel deJong – his play late in the season made Harvey expendable. Should provide an interesting dynamic potentially in a 3 man backline.
Doneil Henry – How will he re-adapt to the MLS game and where does he fit into the pecking order? With Parker at the USMNT camp until the 29th, this may be his chance to show what he’s capable of.
Russell Teibert – Does anyone know what his best position is.
Brett Levis - How will his knee hold up after a full year recovering?
David Norman Jr – As much as it is in his own hands, it’s also not. Even with Jacobsen’s retirement, the addition of Juarez to Ghazal, Tchani, Teibert and potentially Laba as well, will Norman even get a sniff of first team action, or he is best off in Fresno for a year?
As for David Edgar, he’s been given an invite to training camp
Knowing the Caps’ history, there will probably be another signing or two before First Kick.