The Whitecaps have been on the low end of the Cascadia totem pole for the last few seasons, but there’s reason to think that they’ll be better than second-to-last in MLS this year. Head Coach Marc Dos Santos took over to start the 2019 campaign, but Carl Robinson’s five-ish year stint in charge has proven to be difficult to move past.
Tactics & Key Players
Marc Dos Santos was brought to Vancouver with the expectation that he would establish a team identity and shore up the team’s defense. One could argue that the defense did improve, shipping 8 fewer goals than in 2018. But the offense cratered, scoring just 37 goals in 34 games. The result was the lowest points total since the team’s inaugural season in MLS. In Dos Santos’s defense, he wasn’t set up for success. The core of the 2018 team a) wasn’t very competitive, and b) was substantially gutted, with the front office trading away their captain and best defender in Kendall Waston and their best scorer in Kei Kamara.
Inbeom Hwang: The South Korean international was one of the few players consistently worth considering from a fantasy perspective.
Yordy Reyna: $7.5m – With three campaigns in Vancouver, we’re familiar with what Reyna can do at this point.
Fredy Montero: $6.5m – The 32 year-old forward and former Sounders player won the team’s golden boot last year with a whopping eight (8) goals.
Maxime Crepeau: $5.5m – The keeper was the team’s player of the year last year. Relatedly, VWFC had a -22 goal differential. That he is considered one of the few bright spots of 2019 tells the story of last season.
- Doneil Henry – The center back was sold to the K-League.
- Honestly, other players are gone, but you weren’t considering them for fantasy anyhow.
- Lucas Cavallini: $9m – The Canadian international came in from Liga MX with a solid scoring record for club and country. He set the team’s transfer record with a $6mil fee. He has shown well so far (in preseason, so huge asterisk). At $9m to start, I won’t be the first person to add him to my team, but he’s worth watching.
- Cristian Dajome: $7.5m – A winger acquired from Bogota with TAM, Dajome is likely to start on the left side, though he can play both.
- Ryan Raposo: $5m – The central midfielder was picked up by the Whitecaps in the first round of the SuperDraft. He’s scoring goals in preseason (***) and is projected by MLS’s media team to be a starter.
- Leonard Owusu: $6.5m – A midfielder who can play anywhere along the spine (6, 8 or 10) should bring some energy and steel, if the transfer from the Israeli league pans out.
- David Milinkovic: $6m – VWFC were able to secure the former Hull City player on loan (a player acquisition tactic that was popular this offseason). May be a good budget option if he earns a consistent spot in the starting lineup.
- Ranko Veselinovic: $5m – The Serbian 20-year-old joins the Caps on loan with an option to buy from the top flight in Serbia. He will compete with Canadian international Derek Cornelius (also $5m) to team with Erik Godoy (you guessed it, $5m) in central defense.
Dos Santos sees the team’s identity as one that presses in defense, and transitions quickly in offense. VWFC fullbacks have been productive at times from a fantasy perspective, either for boom-or-bust production (Adnan) or due to their price point (Nerwinski). I would bet that, the more successful Dos Santos is in his rebuild, the more likely this trend is to continue. A new VWFC podcast
discussed how Dos Santos likes his wingers to drop deep and drift center. If this is the case, perhaps there will be some bonus points to collect from those positions.
Really, I’m not planning on having any VWFC player in my Week 1 lineup, but there are a handful of good value candidates that could come good if they win consistent starts. I’ll be keeping an eye on the new midfield acquisitions and see who earns minutes
I’m not smart or knowledgeable enough to disagree with MLS media’s projections. Of note, five of the eleven players here weren’t on the team last year.