The Good, The Average and The Bad: The Mouse Is In The House Edition

The Good, The Average and The Bad: The Mouse Is In The House Edition

Well it’s finally (basically) official!

After revealing the news on January 29th that Blas Pérez’s move to Vancouver was close to being a done deal, and after Perez joined the ‘Caps down in Tucson for their preseason friendlies, playing against New England on Saturday, all the necessary paperwork was completed on Monday afternoon and the Panamanian international is a Whitecap.

Perez Confirmation Tweets

It’s a day many ‘Caps supporters probably never envisaged, and as Jay Duke has already mentioned here on AFTN, it’s a move that’s certainly polarizing amongst some of the fanbase.

But he’s a Whitecap now and Carl Robinson is certainly convinced that his work ethic, contribution and commitment both on and off the pitch will win the doubters over.

In the meantime, Aaron takes a look at “The Good, The Average, and The Bad” aspects of the signing….

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THE GOOD

Added Grit Off Bench

With tough and hard to play against starters like Kendall Waston and Matias Laba on this roster, grittiness was much needed off the bench.

The Whitecaps have finesse players like Octavio Rivero, Masato Kudo, Christian Techera, Pedro Morales and Kekuta Manneh. What’s been missing is that player in the squad that opposing teams know will get physical and push them around in the box to fight for positioning.

Pérez’s job isn’t to be the nice guy on the pitch. He gets paid to be that player that no one wants to play against. Does he make enemies with fans around the league? Yes he does and he has here.

But will those Vancouver haters love him if he crunches Robbie Keane or Clint Dempsey with a hard tackle, make them take a retaliatory red card or puts away a few goals to win some grungy hard fought game?

It might take some time, but he will become a fan favourite here with most supporters.

THE AVERAGE

Expectations On The Pitch

Pérez is a 34-year-old player. He doesn’t have to be the main guy on the pitch and will be the third striker option behind Rivero and Kudo. His job will be to come onto the pitch late in games, run at tired opposition defenders and be an absolute handful. Much like Manneh being the speedy super sub, attacking defenders a few seasons back.

Pérez will be able to use his grit and nasty playing style to get those dirty goals that the Whitecaps where missing last season. He’s unlikely to be a 10 to 15 goal player, but it would be nice if he surprised us all and was able to do just that. Although his form and goals dipped last season, he’s shown he can score in MLS.

I expect him to be in the 5 to 10 goal range in all competitions. Will he get a few yellow cards, maybe some red cards, and get under the skin of opposing teams so they take stupid cards? I hope so.

From everything I have read from FC Dallas supporters on Twitter, he will be missed on and off the pitch. He is a top player. One that is a fan favourite when he is in your teams’ kit and public enemy number one when he is playing against your team. Let’s hope that trend continues in Vancouver.

THE BAD

Supporters Feelings For Pérez

This is a hot button issue for some Whitecaps supporters. Do the majority of Vancouver fans welcome him here? Well here are the results of our initial brief Twitter poll on the subject.

Perez Poll Results

A narrow majority for those welcoming the signing. Once the news had time to settle in to people’s mindsets, we ran a second poll and got a far most positive response.

Second Perez poll (404x500)

There are still fans that will not be happy with Perez coming to Vancouver though.

Pérez has a history with the Whitecaps faithful of being a nasty, gritty and downright pain in the ass player. People need to realise his job as a professional football player is to get under the skin of the players he is playing against.

Has he taken it too far in the past? Yes, he undoubtedly has. Do fans of teams he’s played against hate his guts? Yes, they probably do. Do Dallas supporters love him as a player when he played for their team? Damn right they loved him in their kit.

That being said if bringing Pérez into this organization makes it so you refuse to support this team this season, that is your decision and you will be missing some great soccer this year. I hear that the Vancouver Canucks have tickets available for games now. Pretty cheap I hear also. Or maybe if you still want to support the Whitecaps, but not the first team, you can head out to UBC and cheer on the USL Whitecaps 2 side.

For the rest of you fans that don’t like this move, let me say this. Have faith in Carl Robinson. Players on this team and around the league respect him. He would not jeopardize the mood in the locker room if Pérez wasn’t a good teammate on and off the pitch and the character of player he is looking for. Robinson would only bring him in if he was a good player, a good teammate and a good person. It might be hard for some to see that, but Robinson clearly does.

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Aaron Campbell
Authored by: Aaron Campbell

There are 8 comments for this article
  1. Avatar
    JustoMLS at 08:49

    Just a couple of counter-points, and clarifications, but all my opinion. Full disclosure, I am a big Pérez fan, as I follow the Panamanian National Team, but I am not his agent 🙂

    [1] I, unfortunately, do not have the luxury of an NHL team or MLS team in my town, so I think the peeps of Vancouver should go to both team’s games regardless. Did Canucks fans hate Dave “Tiger” Williams in his day? I bet not, neither did “Maple Laughs” fans hate Tie Domi. Who doesn’t love a passionate agitator and pest?

    [2] Pérez brings international experience to the pitch for the Caps. This experience will be critical for the development of the Caps DP striker Rivero, also a big target man, as well as other players, and provide leadership on the field.

    [3] I personally do not think Pérez will be #3 on the depth chart, because he is a high intensity player who still plays a full game for Panamá. If you’ve seen an FCD practice, he would embarrass players like Fabian Castillo, Tesho Akindele, and others. He would also ride players asses to go hard the full 90+, even if FCD was down by 3, on or off the pitch. With a young Caps team, you need that. Also, Akindele was never able to pry the striker position from Pérez, and Texeira was managerial B.S. which I’ll go into next.

    [4] Pérez did start last season hot, then was away for the Gold Cup, had a minor injury, then saw limited playing time the rest of the season. This had *NOTHING* to do with his form or ability to score or play a full 90. Pareja, FCD Coach, and FCD management knew Pérez’s contract was up at the end of the season. I would wager money that if he continued starting, as he should have, he would have finished the season with over 10 goals, for the fourth consecutive season, but then there would be a lot of pressure to resign him, and the Hunt family doesn’t run that type of team. They like to gamble on young players that are cheap, so they stuck with David Texeira as striker at the end of the season, which they could afford to do given their team’s record and playoff contention, who they hoped would develop over the season, but he didn’t. He had goals, but they were nothing special. Benching Pérez allowed management to release him, and ironically, they also released Texeira, and Michel.

    [5] FCD will be a lost cause next season, because you can’t go far in the playoffs without veteran players who keep the young guy’s heads on straight, and help them handle the pressure. If you look at historical statistics, the average age of goal scores in MLS playoffs is 32+ years. FCD was eliminated early, as expected, because they had no vets on the field outside of Watson at back. As previously mentioned, FCD also benched Michel, who was their other veteran, and ironically, scored most of their goals in the 2014 season playoff run for FCD. FCD will be good this year, but without experienced players molding the players and providing leadership, they won’t go far in the playoffs. I believe this is why so many veteran players are traded before the trade deadline, and playoffs, in the NHL.

    [6] When Pérez is on the field, he is a large target man that plays a lot of balls of his body and does simple one-two touch passing. If you watch FCD from last year, or the Panamá national team games, whenever their was a goal kick by the keeper, it was *always* to Pérez who could knock it down. Being 6’1″ is an advantage, in addition to playing in the wall, and set pieces.

    [7] The caps having two big target men in Pérez and Rivero can make a hell of an attack given their size, and the Caps even more dangerous on set pieces, and guarding Ousted on the wall.

    [8] etc. etc. etc. (I can blabber all day about this…)

    In my opinion, which this all is, Robbo was very wise to bring in Pérez, and it will give him A LOT of options, whether he needs a spark off the bench, a mentor and leader (I am in no way suggesting Pérez will wear the armband 🙂 and more versatility in his formations. Caps fans should be pumped! Like Robbo said, he wanted to plug holes, and I think he did just that, and the Caps can go the distance this season.

    Again, just my opinion. Looking forward to an exciting season no matter what happens!

  2. Avatar
    Aaron Campbell at 10:33

    Thanks for the comment and your opinion.

    Perez will get starts this season for sure. With all the games this season MLS season, Amway Canadian Championship and Champions League there will be plenty of opportunities this season for Perez.

    My assumption that he is a #3 striker is based on the Whitecaps playing a 4-4-2 diamond formation. I see Robbo giving Rivero and Kudo the starts up top to start the season. I see Perez coming on in the 60th minute to do what he does best.

    Robbo has been guilty in the past about giving some older players maybe too many minutes. Morales was gassed two seasons ago, yes injuries didn’t help.

    I am sure Perez could play the full 90mins but with all the games and him still playing for Panama I don’t see Robbo wanting to over play him. Perez is brought in to help in playoffs and we don’t want him exhausted by the time they start.

  3. Avatar
    JustoMLS at 14:05

    Definitely good points. I’m very happy Robbo takes chemistry and personality so seriously on and off the pitch.

    I don’t care how much talent some of the other teams are bringing in, because it’s just more ego you have to control and discipline. The Caps are a young squad, a few players aside, so Robbo can really build a strong group. I’m excited!

  4. Avatar
    Aaron Campbell at 15:13

    I am most excited for this season then all previous seasons of MLS combined.

  5. Avatar
    Greg at 10:12

    I’ve got grave concerns about this signing, and it’s not about his past history with Vancouver. Rather, it’s about his, and the Whitecaps, reputation around the league and with officials. They’re already one of the most carded teams in the league. They’ve already got attacking players who are far to quick to attempt to draw fouls. Perez hurts in both of these situations. I’ve got a strong suspicion that the club won’t be getting very many penalty shots this year, as their strikers flop around trying to draw them but the clubs reputation proceeds it and the refs don’t bother to make the call.

  6. Avatar
    Aaron Campbell at 00:23

    Players like Laba, Waston and Perez will definitely get cards this season. Probably alot of them. That why the depth this season is crucial.

    With players like Rivero and and Manneh going down too easy being finesse guys, I think Perez with his tough play style will be different.

    Who cares what other teams think, as long as they play tough they will eventually get calls in their favour.

  7. Avatar
    Greg at 23:24

    Well, that’s sort of my point. If their reputation with the officials is that they go down to easy, the calls won’t go there way. We’ve just had a prime example of it in this city with the Canucks. I’m not a fan of their’s, and noticed during their 2-3 year run of winning that they were also building a reputation for diving and whining. It caught up to them, and a number of their players couldn’t buy a call. It left the local media wondering “why can’t they get a call???” but it’s really simple. They built that reputation, and they paid for it. That’s my fear with the Whitecaps. That in a league with already poor officiating, their reputation will be that they go to ground far too easily, have made officials look poor in the past, and those same officials will now not bother to make the calls for them.

  8. Avatar
    Aaron Campbell at 22:48

    Who cares what their reputation is with the refs? Even if they didn’t dive this season and Perez wasn’t here they wouldn’t get calls. Has nothing to do with the players on the pitch. Shitty refereeing is shitty refereeing.

    Aslong as the players run their ass off and don’t quit on the pitch, it doesn’t matter.

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