Change can be hard. For a soccer fan, changes can sometimes be more exciting than actual games. The Whitecaps have had a busy offseason, as we expected them to do. But have they made themselves stronger or weaker with all the movements?
Let’s have a look at all the ins and outs so far and perhaps see where this season will be won and lost as we look at how we’d score the Whitecaps activities in the transfer market these past few weeks.
Draft Score – 8/10
I like the look of Justin Fiddes and Lucas Stauffer. The Whitecaps have had a good track record with defensive players, who need to look no further than Tim Parker and Jake Nerwinski for the path to becoming an integral part of this team. Very excited by these two players who look responsible on both sides of the ball, and possess great athletic ability. Preseason will tell us more, but I am happy with what the ‘Caps came out of Philly with.
Myer Bevan – 5/10
Bevan was signed from the late WFC2, and while he only has a handful of goals in a baker’s dozen performances, he has all the right attributes to be a good option. Whether he gets the chance is another thing (see Kyle Greig). That all being said, it’s always great to see the club promoting a youth player, even if he would be at best a bench option. He’s young, fast, and will have plenty to prove.
Anthony Blondell – 8/10
Blondell is an example of a modern MLS signing. He is a successful young player that will hope MLS will be a shop window to bigger and better things. He was highly sought after while the Whitecaps were dealing with the Fredy Montero situation, and finished top scorer of the Venezuelan League. Here’s the thing; will Blondell be another Rivero? Do we trust the ‘Caps to foster a young player into a consistent force? That’s why this transfer doesn’t get full marks.
Doneil Henry – 4/10
To say the reaction to this signing was underwhelming would be a strong understatement. One Europa League qualifying game for West Ham in 2015, and it has all been downhill from there. The freshest memory for Canadian ‘Caps fans will be a devastating performance at right fullback for the national team, leading to a cascade of tweets pleading “Don’t play him at right back!”. The Brampton, Ontario native is recovering from an ACL tear, and will add a bit of much needed Canadian-ness to the roster, but I for one would be very surprised if we saw him start more than 10 games in 2018.
Efrain Juarez – 9/10
The signing of the offseason in my opinion. There were so many times last season that the ‘Caps lacked a little flair in the middle of the park beside Aly Ghazal. And with the prospect of Tony Tchani being the starting central midfielder in the team, this transfer came as a relief. The experienced Mexican international has spent time in both Liga MX and Europe, as well as almost 40 caps with the Mexican national team. How the intricacies of Juarez’s exact role will play out remains to be seen, but the fact is that the ‘Caps have signed an experienced player in a key position with plenty of miles on the clock, but still young enough to have a lot left to give.
Kei Kamara – 6/10
If this were a year or so ago, it would be an 8. Unfortunately, we are catching a star in the twilight of his career. His last spell in New England wasn’t exactly a roaring success, but if Robbo can enable the team to bring out 2015 Kamara, then he is a force to be reckoned with. I have a feeling Kei will exceed expectations, especially from set pieces and in a 3-5-2. I also think there are aspects that we fans don’t see that he brings to the team. He is a friendly guy and a dressing room influencer (if it doesn’t turn sour like it did in Columbus).
David Norman Jr. – 7/10
Possibly the most crowd pleasing signing in recent memory, but if you think Norman got his MLS contract based on who is Dad is, you are gravely mistaken. He was the WFC2 Player of the Year, and a shining light in a quite dreadful team last year. Many knowledgeable people have high hopes for David, and while this year might be a learning experience for him, it is an indication that there is a pipeline in Vancouver.
Brian Rowe – 5/10
An experienced MLS keeper who will probably give Stefan Marinovic a consistent challenge so we don’t have a stagnating goalkeeper situation. A good option for a backup, but not jaw-dropping.
Sam Adekugbe – 7/10
The ‘Caps get a bit of cash for a player that didn’t want to play for them. Sam, we hardly knew you.
David Ousted – 6/10
It was time, but his time in Vancouver came to a whimpering end. Badly managed by the club, but a second round pick (who ended up being Lucas Stauffer) in return for a player on his way out is not bad.
Christian Bolaños – 5/10
Bola was a type of player that the Whitecaps do not have, and still have not added to the team.
Nosa Igiebor – 2/10
This was weird from start to finish. There are two suggestions going around on this one depending on who you believe – either that he was poorly treated by the ‘Caps as they tried to renegotiate his contract, or he tried to play hardball to get some perks and lost. I liked his play on the field, but also recognize he didn’t exactly light up the league.
Matias Laba (Unknown)
The Argentine DP’s option was not picked up. he’s still injured, but the ‘Caps say they are still talking to him. Will he back, sold, or just left to wander off into the distance? We should know by May.
Cole Seiler, Sheanon Williams, Mauro Rosales, Kyle Greig – 6/10
It was time.
INS SCORE: 6.5 / 10
OUTS SCORE: 5.2 / 10
Is the team stronger then than last season? That’s not the vibe that seems to be going around the fanbase, but we’ll soon get a better idea once the real action starts. For now. Promising, but still very much getting a mark of “needs improvement”.