Vancouver Whitecaps FC have a whole new look in 2019. Manager Carl Robinson was sacked towards the end of last season due to stagnation and failure to make the playoffs. Marc Dos Santos is in as head coach with a bunch of new players. After being middle-of-the-road for several years, the Caps are probably taking a step back in 2019 to take two steps forward in 2020.
Tactics & Key Players
Of all the teams in the MLS Western Conference, the Caps are the biggest uncertainty for me. As I’ll get to in the next section, most of the 2019 core is gone. They’ve played a 4-3-3 in preseason and that’s a formation Dos Santos likes, so that’s a good bet. Felipe and Yordy Reyna are the incumbents at their positions, so they’re locks to start. Fredy Montero returns to the club and should be the center forward.
After that, with all the changes made (and more could come in the summer possibly), it’s a crapshoot from an MLS Fantasy standpoint. The Erik Godoy signing was an upgrade. Zac MacMath was the best backup goalkeeper in MLS last year in Colorado and should start 30+ games. That said, I don’t see this team getting lots of clean sheets which is a deterrent for me when it comes to MLS Fantasy defenders.
Alphonso Davies was sold to Bayern Munich this off-season for a bunch of money. Kendall Waston left to be the captain with expansion side FC Cincinnati. Kei Kamara and his 14 goals in 28 games are gone too. Those three were arguably the best player for Vancouver in 2018 at their respective positions.
As mentioned, Montero is back in MLS to fill their gaping hole at center forward. Inboem Hwang should be the main central attacker and will replace some of the production lost in Davies. Yordy Reyna is back and should be the starter on the wing.
I don’t like this team in MLS Fantasy or in general. There’s just too many changes and question marks about half the starting roles (both in who will play and will they be good). Dos Santos will be learning on the job as well. In a vacuum, Montero and Reyna are good. Inbeom Hwang could end up being a good as well. I just don’t believe in the supporting cast enough to see them producing enough in Fantasy.
There will be better attacking options unless Vancouver have an easy home match up or a DGW. MacMath will be an inexpensive starting keeper option. Other than that, I’m waiting till the Fall season to take a chance on the Caps with all the unknowns.
There’s some guesswork in here based mostly on preseason lineups and trying to figure out which signings were prime Dos Santos targets. The attackers mentioned above are locks to play 2000+ minutes this year.
Erice, Godoy, and Bangoura seem like players Dos Santos pursued and are part of his plan long term. Nerwinski’s really the only viable option at right back. Felipe and Eric could swap roles depending on the opponent. That could have them switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 at times, which should result in Hwang getting more touches.
Also keep an eye on the lineups because goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau is challenging for the starting spot.