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  1. And catch up with our choices from previous years: 2011 awards / 2012 awards / 2013 awards / 2014 awards ********** AFTN WHITECAPS PLAYER OF THE SEASON : WINNER: DAVID OUSTED - The Dane was basically the reason that the ‘Caps finished where they did, with a string of crucial point winning and point saving stops throughout the year. With 15 clean sheets during the year (13 for the second successive regular season, one in the playoffs and one in the Canadian Championship) his importance is clear. He knows it. The ‘Caps know it. He’ll be back for next season but no deal has been done yet for a contract extension. Whatever he’s looking for, they need to pay it. Runner-up: Cristian Techera Our outfield Player of the Year for sure. After coming to Vancouver in April, Techera showed exceptional qualities during the second half of the season. Finished the year with 7 goals and 5 assists, second on the team in each category. He’s just finding his feet in MLS and we have high hopes of what next season will bring from The Bug. 2014 winner: Pedro Morales 2013 winner: Camilo Sanvezzo 2012 winner: Joe Cannon 2011 winner: Camilo Sanvezzo ********** AFTN WHITECAPS YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON : WINNER: TIM PARKER - When pretty much the whole first team, USL side and Residency qualify for this award, it’s a tough one! We could have given it to Techera. He’s only 23 after all. But since he’s an old man in the squad, we went with a player a year younger. Parker excelled in his rookie season. The best performing first year draftee the ‘Caps have taken. Dislodging a wily veteran and a player brought in from South America as a first choice centre back along the way, Parker finished the season as the ‘Caps starter alongside Kendall Waston and the position is his to lose moving forward. He didn’t look out of place or a rookie in his 17 MLS appearances, all but one of them a start. Also grabbed the ‘Caps first ever CONCACAF Champions League goal. Composed and confident, the best is yet to come from the New Yorker. 2014 winner: Matias Laba 2013 winner: Kekuta Manneh 2012 and 2011 winner: Caleb Clarke ********** WHITECAPS GOAL OF THE SEASON : WINNER: GERSHON KOFFIE v RSL (30/5/15 - 2-1 home win) There were a number of cracking goals this year, a lot of them from defenders, but this has pretty much been the unanimous winner overall. What a strike. We just need him to do these things a lot more often. If he’s still here next year that is, which we don't expect him to be! 2014 winner: Erik Hurtado v Seattle (24/5/14) 2013 winner: Camilo Sanvezzo v Portland (6/10/13) 2012 winner: Darren Mattocks v Toronto (11/7/12) 2011 winner: Eric Hassli v Seattle (11/6/11) ********** WHITECAPS GAME OF THE SEASON : WINNER: 2-0 HOME WIN v LA (04/04/15) There wasn’t really a clear cut winner like previous years. We could have gone, of course, for the win over Montreal that clinched the Voyageurs Cup, just for what it meant. But that wasn’t actually that great a match and it was an understrength Impact side that headed west. The 2-1 win in New York in June was exciting, with two Ousted penalty saves, but the ‘Caps basically struggled against a ten man Red Bulls. In the end, we went for the dominant 2-0 win against LA. It felt like a coming of age win for Carl Robinson’s young side against the defending MLS champs. It was also one that sent the ‘Caps to the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings for the first time, setting up a season where winning it wasn’t a far-fetched thought, but a real possibility. 2014 winner: v Seattle (10/10/14 – 1-0 Cascadia Cup clinching away win) 2013 winner: v Seattle (9/10/13 - 4-1 away thrashing of Sounders) 2012 winner: v San Jose Earthquakes (5/5/12 - 2-1 win at BC Place) 2011 winner: v Kansas City (2/4/11 - 3-3 draw at Empire Field) ********** SAVE OF THE YEAR : WINNER: DAVID OUSTED v PHILADELPHIA (09/05/15 - 3-0 home win) - So many great saves from the Dane this season, including three penalties, but this one just shades it. Did he know too much about it? Of course he did, he'll tell you! 2014 winner: David Ousted v New England (22/3/14 – 0-0 away draw, MLS) 2013 winner: Marco Carducci double save v Victoria Highlanders (28/6/13 - Thunderbird Stadium, PDL) No award in 2011 or 2012. New award last year ********** WHITECAPS TO WATCH IN 2016: WINNER: MARCO BUSTOS - The first two-time winner in this category. This could very well have been his first team breakthrough year but an early season injury derailed Marco’s progress. When he did return, to USL action, he showed what he is capable of with 7 goals, 2 assists and a string of strong performances. Expect more MLS minutes for Bustos next season and that breakthrough year we’re all hoping for. No pressure! Runner-up: Ben McKendry - Another player hindered by injury this season. After signing his first pro contract in January with MLS homegrown deal, McKendry started the USL season a little slow before finding his feet and really hitting his stride. Was expected to get minutes in the Canadian Championship and Champions League games before a season ending injury and an operation has left him waiting another year for his MLS debut. Robinson is a big fan of the BC native, telling us that within two years he expects McKendry to be the box to box midfielder the team will be needing. 3rd: Victor Blasco - Carl Robinson likes what the Spaniard could bring to the MLS squad but just needs to see it on a more consistent basis. Blasco looked good in the early going but once he got his first professional goal, he took his game up to another level, finishing the season with 4 goals and 6 assists. We expect him to get a look in the preseason camp before the 'Caps monitor his progress during another season in the USL. 2014 winner: Marco Bustos 2013 winner: Sam Adekugbe 2012 winner: Ben Fisk 2011 winner: Caleb Clarke ********** HERO OF THE YEAR : WINNER: PA MODOU KAH - We hated him at Portland, we love him in Vancouver. That’s football! We were big fans of what Andy O’Brien brought to the Whitecaps, both in the centre of the defence and in the locker room, but Kah has taken that up a level. A big calming and mentoring influence on Kekuta Manneh’s the pinnacle of Kah’s team spirit came when he bought the entire squad rings to celebrate the club’s first ever Canadian Championship win. Riding around and picking up a medal on a hover board also adds to his awesomeness! 2014 winner: Carl Robinson 2013 winner: Carl Robinson 2012 winner: Young-Pyo Lee 2011 winner: Joe Cannon ********** VILLAIN OF THE YEAR : WINNER: RICARDO SALAZAR- Refereeing in MLS felt worse than it was last year and that's saying something. There were some terrible decisions throughout the league and a lot affecting the 'Caps. Carl Robinson's breaking point seemed to be reached with his epic rant after the loss in KC, but referee Ricardo Salazar's inept performance in the late, late loss to NYC took the biscuit. He was lucky to get out of BC Place in one piece after awarding Frank Lampard as non a penalty as you could imagine. As the bottles rained down on his head postgame, he bizarrely was not disciplined by MLS or PRO. 2014 winner: Mark Geiger 2013 winner: Will Johnson 2012 winner: David Ferreira 2011 winner: Tommy Soehn ********** TACKLE OF THE YEAR: WINNER: MATIAS LABA (at MONTREAL 12/08/15) - Another back to back winner! It was one of those that you just couldn't help sitting at home and screaming "what a tackle" out loud as soon as it happened. It was just such an involuntary reaction and coming with the scores all tied and approaching half time in the Canadian Championship final, a vitally important tackle to boot. Can he grab a hat-trick of wins on 2016? Let's hope we have a few to pick from. You can watch it HERE. 2014 winner: Matias Laba (Home v Dallas 4/10/14) 2013 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker (at San Jose) {new award that year} ********** MISS OF THE YEAR AWARD: WINNER: KEKUTA MANNEH at SAN JOSE (03/10/15) - No matter how many times you watch this, you still find yourself asking "how did he, or someone, not score that". You're in to stoppage time, you're tied at 1-1. you need the three points to keep your Supporters Shield hopes alive, there's second left and then a quick breakaway with the ball at the feet of Manneh on a 2 on 1 surge. What could possibly go wrong? A lot as it turned out. Thankfully not as costly as we feared at the time, but lucky it wasn't. This one will likely still give Kekuta the sweats every time he thinks about it! (Watch below from the 3:20 mark) Runner-up: Octavio Rivero (home v Toronto 07/03/2015) - Now we're also going to include a runner-up here as it was very close to call between these two. Rivero's First Kick miss made us wonder just what kind of player Carl Robinson had brought to the club. Mind you, one season on, we're still wondering a little! This was a horror miss. Blame the turf! (watch below from 0:22 mark) 2014 winner: Darren Mattocks (Lifetime Achievement award) 2013 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker (v Columbus) {new award} ********** BEST AWAYDAY : WINNER: SEATTLE (3-0 win on 01/08/15) - Maybe we should just retire this award now. A Seattle awayday has won it for the third straight year. There's just something about taking the absolute piss out of the Sounders in front of their own fans that will just never, ever get old. This 3-0 trouncing was magical though thanks to two fantastic goals from Pa Modou Kah and one hell of a free-kick from Pedro Morales. Sadly it was all downhill against our Cascadian rivals after these three points. 2014 winner Seattle (Cascadia Cup clinching 1-0 win - 10/10/14) 2013 winner: Seattle (Cascadia Cup clinching 4-1 win - 09/10/14) 2012 winner: Orlando (preseason Mickey Mouse Cup win!) 2011 winner: Portland (in general) ********** MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT : WINNER: PLAYOFF BLANKS - The 'Caps worked so hard to get to the playoffs and to get that previously elusive home playoff game, which is why it was sad and disappointing to see them end the year with a whimper rather than a bang. No goals over two playoff legs against Portland. In the first they were facing a tired team that had just been through 120 plus minutes of football less than 72 hours ago. In the second they had nothing to offer after Manneh went down injured. Embarrassing? You could argue they came up against a tough Timbers side or that it's harsh to call it that after what had been before, but to go out in such a weak way was poor and if the players weren't embarrassed by the lack of fight they put up, then they should have been. 2014 winner: The Camilo Saga 2013 winner: Jun Marques Davidson's headbutt against Philadelphia 2012 winner: Failure to beat TFC in three games 2011 winner: The Empire grass pitch debacle ********** DISGRACE OF THE YEAR : WINNER: MLS SCHEDULING - Just who comes up with the MLS schedule and who thought it was a good idea to schedule two crunch Vancouver clashes with Dallas during an international fixture window? The two top teams in the West, battling for Supporters' Shield honours and missing top players to international duty. While we're at it, with 20 teams in the league there is no reason whatsoever for teams to get bye weeks and then force teams to cram in less attended midweek matches. The 'Caps end of season schedule was baffling. In a 22 day stretch between August 30th and September 19th, Vancouver played two MLS matches. Way to help a team's rhythm. And they ended the regular season with two out of three midweek matches. WTF is up with all that? Someone needs to give their heads a serious shake. 2014 winner: Late "fans" 2013 winner: Losing the Voyageurs Cup by not having a man on the post 2012 winner: Sekeres and Price for reaction to "**** You Dallas" chant 2011 winner: Sportsnet ********** THINGS WE'D LOVE MLS TO CHANGE : WINNER: THE STANDARD OF REFEREEING - Maybe this should be the other award we should retire, since this has won it four of the five years we've done these awards now. But man, it just never seems to get any better. In fact if anything the standard has regressed. Whether it's awarding penalties that aren't, ruling off goals, missing the point and foul completely, this year felt that the PRO refs had got even worse. Something need to be done to save Carl Robinson from blowing a gasket and having to fork over so much of his money to the fine fund. Runner-up: Stop playing MLS games on international dates - (See above). It's not hard. Fans want to see the best players turn out for their clubs. It devalues the league to have crunch games like Dallas v Vancouver played with so many players away on international duty. There are so many other alternative dates. It's beyond ridiculous now and if frankly embarrassing. 3rd: Reward academy players who show promise - I'd love to see MLS fall into line with leagues and clubs around the world when it comes to rewarding academy talent. I'm not talking about financially here, but in terms of rewarding effort and performance down the ranks. If a youth player has had a stand out week or two in the Residency or USL, then Robbo should be allowed to reward that by putting him on the bench to see how he fares with the first team. A standard practice the world over. 2014 winner: The standard of refereeing (back from the dead!) 2013 winner: Transparency of rules 2012 and 2011 winner: The standard of refereeing ********** THE WILLIE JOHNSTON "DID THAT JUST REALLY HAPPEN?" AWARD : WINNER: PA MODOU KAH RIDING A HOVERBOARD AFTER CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP WIN - Nothing else needs said. Epic. Legend. And the fact he collected his medal by riding up on it is even better. 2014 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker's wanking gesture on national TV 2013 winner: Three goals in 140 seconds in Caps v Portland match 2012 winner: Darren Mattocks aerial goal in Toronto 2011 winner: Eric Hassli's double jersey sending off celebration ********** THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY AWARD: WINNER: DARIO ZANATTA - Former Residency goalkeeper Callum Irving came a close second here, after the 'Caps have lost his homegrown rights and he'll be heading into the draft, but instead we're giving it to another Residency player they've lost out on. Dario Zanatta was looking like a top prospect. He'd banged the goals in at U16 level, he was doing it at U18 level and with the USL team here, that looked like the natural next step. Except the Whitecaps came in with a lowball offer to the striker and he felt he had no option but to continue his footballing career in pastures new. After a few trials in the UK and Europe, he settled in at Hearts in Scotland this summer. He's excelled with the Jambo's U20s and has now made three appearances for the first team, the most recent of which came on December 27th in the 2-2 home draw with Celtic and in yesterday's 3-2 win over Dundee United. Zanatta's future looks very bright, but sadly for the 'Caps, this was a major mess up from the front office in letting him get away. 2014 winner: The missing link - a new striker (sound familiar?!!) 2013 winner: Alain Rochat 2012 winner: John Carew 2011 winner: Robbie Savage ********** QUOTE OF THE YEAR : WINNER: RUSSELL TEIBERT - "Every team in this league has stars, we do too. It'll be a match up with 11 men, all humans." (05/03/15) - With a lot of the focus on TFC's expensive players coming to Vancouver for First Kick, Rusty is keeping his feet firmly on Earth. 2014 winner: Andy O'Brien - "They keep chanting my name for some reason. I don't know why it is!" 2013 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker's comments on Dallas' divers 2012 winner: none awarded 2011 winner: Tommy Soehn - "It doesn't take much to turn a team around" ********** THE "PLEASE JUST SHUT UP" AWARD: WINNER: POINTLESS JOURNALISM AND CLICKBAIT SITES - If there's one thing that seems to piss me off more year upon year is the seeming non-stop rise of pointless journalism. "How can you say that when yesterday you ran a piece on funny football related TV shows?" I hear you cry, well, let me continue. Now it could be argued that most journalism is pointless (!) but there's a number of sites out there, and you know who they are and they know who they are, that seem to feel the need to write an article on every little announcement as if they seem to think that that is actually quality journalism. If the 'Caps put out a press release for example or something is said on twitter and you put that article out as a "news story" verbatim, without any comment or analysis, what point are you actually serving the football community and football media in general? You're a cut and paster, not a journalist or blogger. It's fine once in a while but all the time? Same with humour. We run a lot of nonsense, but at least it's original nonsense that some thought and time has gone in to! Sites need to decide - what are you? A breaking news site or a blog/site that wants to actually analyse what goes on behind the initial story? If you want breaking news on the 'Caps, surely their own site is the place most people go. It's like the string of people on matchdays that tweet out things like "1-0 Caps. Rivero". Yeah, like I haven't already seen that a couple of dozen times in my feed. Also a two or three hundred word "story" is not quality journalism. It's a facebook post. Are you really proud to have your name to that or something that is just a virtual word for word paste of a press release? I'll admit, in these changing times of technology and low attention spans (you still reading this far?!) and everybody wanting to be first to report something or to make sure that no-one else has some content that you don't, the days of the long form article may be numbered, although we still get an excellent number of visitors every month for such things. For me, it should always be quality over quantity. Don't run five or seven articles a week because you feel you have to or your managing editor it telling you that's the standard. That's why all our writers are told write what you want, when you want. That way you get the stuff people actually want to take time to write. When quality football publications like "Plastic Pitch" may go out of business but websites that chase the clicks and ad revenue continue to thrive, it's a sad world. Ok, rant over. Happy New Year! 2014 winner: People wanting the 'Caps to open the upper tier 2013 winner: Media who can't grasp concept of football decisions being made above the manager 2012 winner: Old media fuddy duddies who just don't get football crowds 2011 joint winners: Craig MacEwen and Martin Nash ********** HAIRCUT OF THE YEAR : WINNER: CHRISTIAN DEAN'S BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN STREAK- Like my own hair, 2015 was a thin year for 'Caps haircuts. So we're going for the bizarre blonde flash that Dean favoured early in the season. Felt like a cross between the Bride of Frankenstein and some superhero that had been given superfast speed powers. Interestingly, Dean's best performances came once he got rid of that look! 2014 winner: Russell Teibert's Playoff special 2013 winner: Tommy Heinemann's Werewolf look 2012 winner: Greg Klazura's Shaven Locks 2011 winner: Eric Hassli's Mohawk ********** THE MUSTAPHA JARJU "WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY" AWARD : WINNER: THE 'CAPS ILL THOUGHT OUT CASCADIA CUP SCARVES - Flashpoints between the 'Caps Front Office and the Supporters' groups have reduced in recent years. Publically at least. But the club gave themselves a PR nightmare when they tried to produce a Cascadia Cup scarf at the start of the season, going against the supporters' trademark rights to the image of the trophy. There was uproar online and in the end profits were donated to charity as a tense agreement was reached late in the day. But it all left some bad tastes in the fans' mouths along the way. 2014 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker 2013 winner: Darren Mattocks 2012 winner: Kenny Miller 2011 winner: The Empire grass pitch ********** THE PAUL BARBER "TALKING OUT OF YOUR ASS" AWARD : WINNER: THOSE WANTING THE UPPER BOWL OPENED - Every year it's the same old chatter. A lot of it coming from the vapid non-football talking heads on the radio. "The 'Caps need to open the upper bowl to cash in on their growing attendances". It's absolute nonsense. The market is not there yet to justify it. "But Seattle do it", "they're stunting growth" and "it'll add to the atmosphere" are all thrown out. Well, We're not Seattle and adding a bunch of non regulars and, often, newbies, isn't going to create a cacophony of noise as some expect. Others argue it will make the 'Caps more money to spend on players, forgetting that money has to be spend on increased security, policing, concessions, cleaning etc. Plus opening up a small section of the upper bowl would look terrible, as the Women's World Cup demonstrated. I'm all for opening up the entire lower bowl. The Portland playoff game was a success in that regards. But the demand is not there for every game and I think people fail to realise just how tough it has been for the 'Caps to sell out all the games they have. It's a long, hard slog. Even the crucial regular season finale against Houston took a while to sell out. The demand is not there yet and may never be. Opening up the upper bowl for a one-off does little for the 'Caps sustained long term growth. 2014 winner: Omar Salgado and his string of apologies for his attitude 2013 winner: Darren Mattocks' Jamaican TV interview 2012 winner: Media pundits disrespecting Caps achievement in reaching playoffs 2011 winner: Paul Barber ********** And that's the end of our 2015 awards. Share your thoughts on the award winners below. Who knows what next year will bring? Hopefully even more success!
  2. We chat about all of this and more. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
  3. If you want to catch up on our previous "Keep, Trade or Release" picks, here are the links - 2014 - GOALKEEPERS AND DEFENDERS / MIDFIELDERS AND FORWARDS 2013 - GOALKEEPERS / DEFENDERS / MIDFIELDERS / FORWARDS ********** MIDFIELDERS: MARCO BUSTOS AARON - (Keep) Back up to Morales next season would be the best for him and his development. Let's hope he is injury free next season. JAY - (Keep) Marco Bustos didn't get much time due to an unfortunate injury, but still provided plenty of prowess at the USL level and even contributed when he played with the senior team. A rare talent in Canadian soccer, Bustos has the creativity and skill that the MLS team could have used in the tail end of the year. MICHAEL - (Keep) Damn that training pitch injury. Derailed Bustos' development slightly but what he showed in USL was exciting for the future. Looked good in preseason. Doesn't look like he'll be out of place in MLS. Onwards and upwards! Needs to work on being less selfish on the ball and get out of the arm waving he sometimes falls in to STEVE - (Keep) Started the season with injury issues but when he came back he had some bright moments with WFC2 and should see some playing time next year. DEYBI FLORES AARON - (Decline to sign) Way too inconsistent for MLS. The game is too technical and physical for him. JAY - (Decline to sign) Other than his first appearance for the Whitecaps, Flores has failed to really show that he's close enough to keep around, while Kianz Froese, a Canadian Residency player, has shown he's closer to being the completed player. MICHAEL - (Decline to sign) I personally wouldn't bring him back. He looked good in his first appearance, then felt he got worse with every MLS game. Didn't impress but Robbo seems to feel he has potential to grow and is still young. I expect him to be back, as the 'Caps pick up his signing option. STEVE - (Decline to sign) As a loanee he didn’t overly impress and would take up an international spot if he returned. KIANZ FROESE AARON - (Keep) Had a good season but would love to see him get more first team minutes. Needs to make most of the minutes he does get. JAY - (Keep) Froese has never looked out of place when he played in the first eleven. The only hope is that Kianz can find more minutes with the big club to show his ability at any of the many positions he's capable of contributing in. MICHAEL - (Keep) A further strong season of development. Now has his first pro goal. Nowhere near his ceiling yet and we should see a lot more of him, and even more production from him, next season. STEVE - (Keep) Had a number of bright moments and should see even more playing time next season. GERSHON KOFFIE AARON - (Trade) Is worth less this season than he was last season. Get maximum return now before he lowers he stock again. JAY - (Trade/Sell) I've always been one of Koffie's biggest fans, but despite being given plenty of opportunity to make the next step, he remains just a decent MLS level midfielder in an already congested position. May want to take a shot at one of the lesser European leagues, and the Whitecaps can afford to trade or sell Koffie to get some value back. MICHAEL - (Trade) He still frustrates me as a player. Still hasn't taken the leap of advancement he's been needing to take the last two seasons. His stock is high with some around the league and there have been enquiries before as to his availability. Maybe last chance to get decent return for him. Other DM options out there interesting Carl Robinson. STEVE (Keep but open to Trade) - Another player who had a solid season but is on a high ticket. The 'Caps may look to move him on in order open up cap space. MATIAS LABA (ALREADY RE-SIGNED) AARON - (Keep) Thank you TFC. JAY - (Keep) An obvious choice to re-sign Laba. The only other defensive midfielder I'd consider a straight swap for in MLS is Dax McCarty. His value may be even greater if the Whitecaps move to a single DM setup. MICHAEL - (Keep) A fantastic season for Laba personally and rewarded with a new multi-year contract. So key for the 'Caps snuffing out attacks in that DM role but has to work on cutting out the reckless and occasionally lax tackles that have proved costly. STEVE - (Keep) Just signed to an extension and will definitely return unless a team comes with an offer that the Whitecaps can’t refuse. KEKUTA MANNEH AARON - (Keep) Great season and the sky is the limit for Manneh. JAY - (Keep) While he can be frustrating when he goes missing for long periods, he's clearly the most explosive player on the Whitecaps, and after he went down in the second leg of the playoff versus Portland, the Whitecaps had almost no creative output. MICHAEL - (Keep) Manneh made big strides this season. A lot more maturity both on and off the pitch. Great defensive awareness added. Has to keep it going now, and I have no doubts that he will. Still a lot of work to do with his finishing and decision making. STEVE - (Keep) Really came on as the season went on and was a dangerous weapon going forward while improving defensively. BEN MCKENDRY AARON - (Keep) USL Player of the Year for ThunderCaps. I am very high on this player and would love to see him get minutes if the team gets rid of Teibert, Koffie and Flores. Could be a back up to Laba on the first team. JAY - (Keep) Another player with first team potential in the midfield, Ben showed enough in USL to earn himself a shot with the senior team. MICHAEL - (Keep) Robbo rates him very highly and had plans for him in the summer before injury thwarted those. He started a little tentatively in USL but soon burst out and was playing really well. He'll make his MLS debut next year, then he needs to grab the brass ring when he does, as he has a lot of competition at his position and he's not getting any younger. STEVE - (Keep) Was voted as WFC2 player of the year and was improving before an injury ended his season. NICOLAS MEZQUIDA AARON - (Keep) Injuries ruined his season. Was the best player on this team for a good 5 to 6 week run when Morales was injured. JAY - (Keep) Another revelation was the play of Mezquida who really was the key cog when the Whitecaps were at their best. While he's not quite at a Mauro Diaz level of creativity as an attacker, his overall attacking emphasis was really missed after his injuries late in the year. MICHAEL - (Keep) Felt that this was a make or break one for Mezquida in Vancouver. He certainly made it! Shame that an injury ended his season early as he seems the key to unlocking Rivero. The link up between those pair and Techera is a joy to watch. Hopefully more to come. STEVE - (Keep) Had a tough time dealing with injuries late into the season but when he played as a number 10 for Morales, the Caps didn’t lose too much. PEDRO MORALES (ALREADY RE-SIGNED) AARON - (Keep) Let's hope he keeps healthy. JAY - (Release) I know it's already a forgone conclusion, but I'd be okay with Morales being cut loose and a more dynamic midfielder brought in. The hope is that Robinson can find a tactical approach which allows for Morales' fantastic distribution ability to be included while allowing for his defensive shortcomings and his lack of emphasis inside the 18. MICHAEL - (Keep) He says he's not worried about his injuries. Robbo says that as well. Wish I felt the same way. Felt a disappointing season for Pedro after his spectacular first year in MLS. Can still spray a ball better than nearly everyone in the league. Need to see that back to the max in 2016. STEVE - (Keep) After signing an extension there is no way Morales is not coming back, but as their most talented player he needs to avoid getting run down as the season went on. MAURO ROSALES AARON - (Trade) Not enough offensive return for his high salary. Yes, experience and leadership is good to have, but this is a salary cap league, like it or not. JAY - (Release) Rosales is a true professional whose heart is never questioned, but some injury issues and questions around how much gas is left in the tank mean he's a high risk at his value. MICHAEL - (Release but want to Keep!) Tough one for me, as listeners to the podcast know how highly I rate Rosales for what he brings both on and off the pitch. As he told us in our latest podcast (Ep 134), he wants to stay. Took a paycut from $400,000 to $265,000 guaranteed for this season. Would need to take about $100,000 off that for me to keep him around. I'd like them to come to a deal as he definitely has value to the team. Just sense they won't be able to. STEVE - (Release) The elder statesman is on a very high salary and unless he takes a big paycut, I can’t see him returning next season. CRISTIAN TECHERA AARON - (Keep) Had a great season and will only be better getting a preseason camp in with this team. JAY - (Keep) Without Techera, the Whitecaps very likely would have missed out on the playoffs. The only question is if the inventive winger can continue his rather significant contributions and if the Whitecaps can execute the option to buy without breaking the bank. MICHAEL - (Keep) One of, if not the, player of the second half of the season. Hopefully 'Caps have a set transfer fee for him as I think he's going to be even better in MLS next year. STEVE - (Keep) Unless there is a large transfer fee needed to bring him back there is doubt Techera should return next season. RUSSELL TEIBERT AARON - (Trade) If he isn't good enough to be a consistent MLS starter and earn quality MLS minutes, might be time to move on from Teibert. JAY - (Keep) Jack of all trades, master of none. Teibert again showed value for the Whitecaps this year as he contributed well in a defensive midfielder roll, but he still has failed to either show he's a tough enough tackler as a true DM or get forward enough to contribute as an attacking midfielder. I'd keep Teibert as he's such an excellent squad player. MICHAEL - (Trade) I'd release him but 'Caps would want to get something for him is he was to move on. For me, he's not MLS starting quality right now and he won't get there if he doesn't play. He needs to move on, best outside of North America, to be a starter somewhere for his own development. Far better options in 'Caps squad for the positions he can play. He's reached a fork in the road. STEVE - (Keep) I was surprised he didn’t get as much playing time down the stretch but the Caps still hope his long term future is with Vancouver. FORWARDS: CALEB CLARKE AARON - (Trade/Sell) I would say Keep but he would at best be a USL only player. Don't think he will settle for that. JAY - (Release) It was kind of a shocker that Clarke even came back after a falling out with the Whitecaps in seasons past. Either way, Clarke didn't show enough to earn a spot with the big team, so it's time to let Caleb go find somewhere he has a chance. MICHAEL - (Release) This was the make or break season for Clarke. He looked okay at USL level but not MLS quality right now. We don't know for sure as he never saw a single minute there. I feel he's gone as far as he can with the 'Caps right now. STEVE - (Release) He played this season with WFC2, had moments, and may be looking to return to Germany next year. ROBERT EARNSHAW AARON - (Keep) Was way under used this season. Would be that experience factor if they let Rosales go. JAY - (Keep) The only question for me is why Earnshaw wasn't played more this season. If the Whitecaps do move to a two striker set-up, there would be more minutes to go around for the forwards and Earnshaw still has value if he was played for more than 5 minutes every few games. Not to mention his desire to get into coaching, and it makes sense to keep Earnshaw around if he was used properly. MICHAEL - (Release but happy to keep around) You wonder just how he, and the 'Caps, would have done if he'd played more. Was strange how Robbo used him this year, but to be fair, when he did play (in Champions League), he looked a step off. But give him a chance and he's the Whitecap striker I'd back most to score. Cheap value at $100,000 so I wouldn't be too averse to him hanging around for his experience if he performs, but likely to head back to lower league club in UK and to work on his coaching qualifications. STEVE - (Release) As with Mattocks below, the striker position needs to improve and Earnshaw is on his last legs. ERIK HURTADO AARON - (Keep) Give him a training camp to see what he learned when he got sent to Norway on loan. If he struggles, release him. JAY - (Release) Hurtado has been given plenty of chances to show he has more than just physical ability and he's failed to do so. Even if Hurtado were to return, he'd only be taking away opportunities from players like Froese, so it's time to finally move Erik along. MICHAEL - (Trade) Dreadful season for Hurtado, who seems to have gone backwards. Loaned to Norway but ended up riding the pine as his team got relegated. The plan is for him to come back to preseason camp but his time in Vancouver must surely be running out. I genuinely believe that his performances, and goals, in that hot streak he was on in 2014 will see interest from others in MLS for some kind of trade, even if just for allocation or a draft pick. STEVE - (Release) Another player who needs to move on in order clear both a roster spot and some, limited, cap space. ANDRE LEWIS AARON - (Release) Too injury prone. Not strong enough for the MLS. JAY - (Release) Another player who just hasn't shown he's good enough for the MLS level, and he's taking up development minutes from Residency players. MICHAEL - (Release) He has speed, he has skills, but he's not going to be a MLS player for the 'Caps so no point continuing with him. STEVE - (Release) See Hurtado. Plus he takes up an international spot. DARREN MATTOCKS AARON - (Trade) Maybe he could just play for Jamaica year round. Seems to only score for his national team. JAY - (Trade/Release) He's being paid to contribute way more than he does, and his personality just doesn't seem to suit the club. Mattocks has still failed to find any form with club despite successes with his country. It's time for the club to move on with Darren, and that would be best for both parties. MICHAEL - (Trade) I've had him leaving for three years now I think! His highest trade value was going to be in the summer after the Gold Cup. Stock has fallen again but many teams still rate him highly. He'll probably now excel elsewhere. Caleb Porter still loves him, so let's keep those Mattocks for Will Johnson trade rumours rumbling, or to Houston for Bruin. STEVE - (Trade) The Whitecaps need to find a way to move Mattocks on to improve the back-up striker position, even if the return isn’t at full value. OCTAVIO RIVERO AARON - (Keep) Hit a wall and struggled for a long part of the season. Will be more comfortable next season and hopefully he has help up top. JAY - (Keep) Despite misplacing his shooting boots at the end of the season, Rivero still showed he has a real deep skill set. Octavio looked much better when he had a strike partner, and it seems like Robinson will be considering bringing in either a partner or competition for Octavio up top. It wouldn't surprise me to see Rivero have a real breakout year if he has better support around him. MICHAEL - (Keep) Rivero's not going anywhere. He was very self critical after season and promises better production. Highest workrate on the team and left on an island up front at times, but he needs to be pushed. Robbo's going to bring in at least one more striker. I expect two or three. If the formation doesn't change it could be to replace Rivero as the starter. Then does he want to hang around and fight? STEVE - (Keep) Rivero needs another season to see if he can become a consistent scorer especially with a potential payoff down the road. Needs competition at the spot. ********* So there’s our thoughts on the Whitecaps midfielders and forwards from the season past. Do you agree or are we talking nonsense? Let us know below!
  4. We'll of course play our part as we look to put the willies into the rumour mill. Two of them - Bruin and Johnson. The Whitecaps will retain their solid core, but new additions are necessary to make the squad stronger and more productive in front of goal. You can make additions without subtracting in MLS, so with all that in mind, it’s time for AFTN’s annual "Keep, Trade or Release" feature. We asked AFTN’s writers to take a look at the current Whitecaps squad and say whether they would keep them around for next season, trade them or sell them for more valuable assets or to fill positions of need, or just release them into the wild altogether. Part One kicks things off with a look at the goalkeepers and defenders. Part Two tomorrow will look at the midfielders and forwards. And don’t forget to leave your thoughts below. If you want to catch up on our previous "Keep, Trade or Release" picks, here are the links - 2014 - GOALKEEPERS AND DEFENDERS / MIDFIELDERS AND FORWARDS 2013 - GOALKEEPERS / DEFENDERS / MIDFIELDERS / FORWARDS ********** GOALKEEPERS: MARCO CARDUCCI AARON – (Keep) There is no reason Carducci should not get Canadian Championship and the majority of the USL minutes next season. Make or break year in 2016 for Carducci. JAY - (Keep) After early season injury issues, Carducci started slow but looked better as the season went on with WFC2. While his shot stopping ability has never been questioned, his ability to be aggressive in the box remains the main issue, causing hesitation should Carducci be given minutes at the MLS level. Another season with lots of minutes at USL should allow the smaller framed keeper a chance to show he can play with some more control. MICHAEL – (Keep/Loan Deal) Tough year for Carducci. No first team minutes and having to share USL ones with Spencer Ritchie, who outperformed him at times. Would almost serve his career better to go out on loan for key developmental minutes but no guarantee of more minutes there either. STEVE – (Keep) Didn’t feel like he got enough playing time, but he still seems to be the future at the goalkeeping position. DAVID OUSTED AARON - (Keep) Has proven to be a top class MLS goalkeeper. Let's hope he doesn't find a second tier English or Spanish club to move on to. JAY - (Keep) David Ousted has shown he's one of, if not the best keeper in the league. His distribution and control of the box are a real key to the Whitecaps ability to play the quick counter. Considering Ousted's intention to move to Europe one day, a pay increase on his already decent wage will be required - and the Whitecaps should pay it. MICHAEL – (Keep) If we can. Asked him last week and it was a very non-commital answer. Caps will definitely pick up option but he’s bound to attract interest from Europe. Some was already there a year ago. STEVE – (Keep) One of the top keepers in MLS, Ousted should return unless another club comes with an offer. PAOLO TORNAGHI AARON – (Release) Had a good run in Canadian Championship and a not so good run in Champions League. Time for Tornaghi to move on in his career to find a club that can offer more quality minutes. JAY - (Keep) Paolo looked rusty in his earlier minutes this season, but he regained form and looked a comfortable backup overall. His wage is easy to swallow, so the only reasons to drop Tornaghi would be if he wants to make a bid for a club where he'll get more playing time, or if the Whitecaps feel Carducci is ready to make the jump. MICHAEL – (Release) He’s been loyal, he loves it here, but he should move on, for his own sake as well. Can ‘Caps get a capable back up for less than $80,000? For sure. The ideal scenario would be to sign Callum Irving out of Kentucky, but they may have lost his homegrown rights and he looks to be going into the draft. STEVE – (Keep) If he is ok with being the backup next year then Tornaghi should be back. DEFENDERS: SAM ADEKUGBE AARON – (KEEP) Injuries prevented him from keeping his starting role he earned in training camp last season. Now that he is healthy let's hope he can continue on that track. JAY - (KEEP) Hard not to feel bad for Adekugbe who took his opportunity and looked MLS ready before his injury. A no brainer to keep Sam and try and find room to get him more minutes in MLS play. MICHAEL – (KEEP) You know it’s just a matter of when, and not if, he’ll be the ‘Caps starting left back. Has the skill and hasn’t looked out of place in his starts, but just need to reign in his aggressive tackling style a little bit to really excel. STEVE – (KEEP) Looked like he was becoming the regular at left back before injury saw him return to the bench. He really needs to get a long stretch of games to start next season. STEVEN BEITASHOUR AARON - (KEEP) Not a huge Beitashour fan but unless we bring in a quality RB he is the best option they have. JAY - (KEEP) One of the more tough decisions for me, as I think Beitashour has done admirably, but despite his decent total of five assists this year, Steven doesn't provide as much attacking emphasis as you'd want if the Whitecaps are to want a more narrow tactical option in a two striker set-up to help provide width. I could see one of Beitashour or Harvey departing, and if the Whitecaps want to invest in a higher paid, quality, two way fullback I could see Beitashour moving on. MICHAEL – (TRADE) Agree that there needs to be a good option to come in, butyou can certainly find one for better value than his near $200,000 guaranteed amount and a more productive one to boot. Caps and player want to get a deal done, but it's all coming down to the $$$. If Beitashour is prepared to sign for much less than his option amount then he'll stay. If not, the right back search is on once more. STEVE – (TRADE) Had solid season but on a high ticket. Caps may look to move him in order open up cap space. CHRISTIAN DEAN AARON - (TRADE) This is probably the time to get the most return in a trade for Dean. Too many quality CB's ahead of him on depth chart. JAY - (TRADE) Although he made strides this season, he is still well behind Parker on the depth chart and he still holds value as a prospect. The Whitecaps should make good on this value and try and get something back for their high draft pick. MICHAEL – (KEEP) Selfishly, from a 'Caps point of view, he needs to stay. Still good potential and a known quantity as a back up. From Dean's point of view though, he needs to play at this crucial time of his career and a trade or a loan deal may be the better choice. STEVE – (RELEASE) It might be a better option for the former first round pick to move on so he can get more playing time. If he’s ok with being the third or fourth option then a return is a possibility. JORDAN HARVEY AARON - (TRADE) Has been a great player for the club but it's Adekugbe time. Don't see Harvey settling for a backup role next season. JAY - (KEEP) After a mediocre opening couple of matches, Harvey lost his starting spot to the youthful Adekugbe. After Adekugbe went down with an injury, Harvey showed some of his best overall form as a professional, keeping young Sam out of the starting line-up. Harvey remains one of the most steady fullbacks in the league for a reasonable salary. MICHAEL – (KEEP) I like Harvey. I like what he brings both on and off the pitch and the 'Caps needs some veteran presence. He ideally wants to stay, see out his career in Vancouver and battle for the starting role. Fine on $150,000, but would be even better on a slightly lower amount, but that and his MLS experience, that will interest others, is what could see him traded. STEVE – (TRADE) Another one with a solid season but in a high ticket. Like Beitashour, Caps may want to move him on. PA MODOU KAH AARON - (RELEASE) Injury prone. Time to retire. JAY - (KEEP) Another tough decision, as Kah's value is more as a locker room asset than for his gameday value. While he played very well for the majority of his minutes, he's clearly the number three centreback now and if he's happy with that, the Whitecaps could keep him around. MICHAEL – (KEEP) Kah isn't going anywhere. Robbo wants him here and he wants to stay. You can't really put a financial amount on what he brings to this locker room. He's a welcome and an invaluable presence, and has formed excellent partnerships with Waston and Parker. STEVE – (KEEP with conditions) Started more games than I thought he would but with Parker emerging, Kah will have to accept less money and playing time to return. TIM PARKER AARON - (KEEP) Was the biggest surprise this season. Stepped into some big games and was great this season. Has a bright future in the MLS. JAY - (KEEP) A revelation at centreback, Parker instantly looked like a veteran MLS player. The only real issue is neither he or Waston are exactly good ball playing centrebacks, but that's really nitpicking regarding a Rookie of the Year candidate who has solidified his spot as an extremely capable defender. MICHAEL – (KEEP) No brainer. Next year's starter. Nuff said. STEVE – (KEEP) Took massive steps in his rookie season to become a starter and will surely return to that position next year. DIEGO RODRIGUEZ AARON - (DECLINE TO SIGN) Wasn't very good at all this season. Injuries and suspensions derailed his first year in North America. JAY - (DECLINE TO SIGN) A real shame, as Diego looked like he would slot in nicely beside Waston early in the year, but after battling injury and form issues, it's clear Rodriguez needs a change of scenery. It's too bad, because in theory a calm, ball playing centreback would be perfect beside Waston. MICHAEL – (DECLINE TO SIGN) Had high hopes, but he's disappointed. Yes, injuries have played a part, and you have to feel for a guy that's been through so much after moving to a new country. But his USL performances were poor and his confidence looks shot. STEVE – (DECLINE TO SIGN) Many, including myself, thought he would start alongside Waston but after injury and an unfortunate suspension, Rodriguez never recovered. ETHEN SAMPSON AARON - (RELEASE) Time to move on. JAY - (RELEASE) Sampson must really hear the clock ticking, as he's been around the Whitecaps camp for a while now and has shown his limits far more than any potential. It's time to move Sampson along. MICHAEL – (RELEASE) Didn't like him when he first came but he slowly won me over. Then he seemed to go backwards. Can see him being loaned out so 'Caps can have a look for afar but keep his rights. I'd just cut bait at this stage now. STEVE – (RELEASE) His time in Vancouver seems to be done as he saw very little action in MLS over the last two years. JORDAN SMITH AARON - (RELEASE) Not sound enough defensively for this team. He was caught out of position too many times. JAY - (KEEP) There's no question that Smith has some decent potential, and he certainly looks much more willing and able to join in the attack including a howitzer of a shot, but his defending has been poor and if not for his excellent make-up speed, he'd have been a disaster on the defensive side. I'd like to see Smith come back, but perhaps spending a lot of time with the USL side. MICHAEL – (KEEP) Like Waston the year before, was lined up for January but came early. Jury is still out on him. Looks far better at training than in some games. Strong going forward but poor defending and getting back. STEVE – (KEEP) Came in late in the summer transfer window and showed some flashes along with difficult times defending at the right side. KENDALL WASTON AARON - (KEEP) Team MVP. Should have been MLS Defender of Year. JAY - (KEEP) The most physically dominant centreback in the league has to be retained, even if it means a raise and using some allocation or TAM to keep him under a DP salary. MICHAEL – (KEEP) Another no brainer obviously, but if he keeps playing the way he is, it won't be long before there's interest from elsewhere. 'Caps will need to pay him his worth and we could see TAM come into play here. STEVE – (KEEP) Was the team’s MVP and will return to anchor the backline. ********* So there’s our thoughts on the Whitecaps goalkeepers and defenders from the season past. Do you agree or are we talking nonsense? Part Two will be up soon, where we’ll have a look at the midfielders and the forwards.
  5. All this and more in an innuendo laden episode. Have a listen! You can listen to this week's podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we've joined Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 15,000 shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
  6. [And if you want to catch up on last year's "Keep, Trade or Release" picks, here are the links - GOALKEEPERS / DEFENDERS / MIDFIELDERS / FORWARDS] MIDFIELDERS BRYCE ALDERSON AARON (KEEP - Incomplete) - Bad year for injuries. JAY (TRADE/SELL - D) - A rough year for Alderson as he was buried down the depth chart in the Whitecaps strongest position. Even when he did play, he didn’t stand out (for good or bad.) To me, it seems like Alderson should find somewhere new to get a fresh start. MICHAEL (RELEASE - D) - The way I look at it with Alderson is would you keep him around if he wasn't Canadian? And the answer has to be no. For the good of the player, it's time to set him free to go and get meaningful minutes somewhere before his development is stunted further. Too far down the pecking order here. STEVE (KEEP - D+) - While there wasn’t much opportunity for playing time, there is a little disappointment that he wasn’t able to push his way into the eleven. MEHDI BALLOUCHY AARON (RELEASE - D) - Great to see him back on the pitch after all the injuries. Had some pretty brutal outings though. JAY (RELEASE - D) - Ballouchy never really did anything wrong, but never really impressed either. A useful MLS role player, but way down the depth chart, especially with Residency players pushing. MICHAEL (RELEASE - D) - It's good to see him fight back from his injury horrors, but he is another player too far down the depth chart and will struggle to get minutes next season, so he needs to move on and get them elsewhere. Showed some positives when he played, but not enough. STEVE (RELEASE - C) - It took a little time for him to get on the pitch after coming off surgery and he looked average when he made it there. Only reason to keep him is if the Caps aren’t able to find another MLS vet that is an upgrade. SEBASTIAN FERNANDEZ AARON (KEEP - C+) - Had some diving and embellishing moments he would like to have back. All together a good first season. JAY (KEEP - B-) - While the statistics didn’t show it, he was an important part of the Whitecaps attack. He obviously has the abilities, but needs to make better decisions at times. Hopefully another loan deal can be worked out to avoid a big salary increase due to a transfer fee. MICHAEL (KEEP - C) - I'm saying keep but wouldn't be too upset if his loan wasn't extended. He has the potential but was a frustrating player to watch at times this year, maybe because he was playing out wide. Seemed frightened to shoot inside the box at times but was spectacular outside of it. We could have done with a bit more and I would have liked to have seen what he could have brought as an out and out striker a bit more. STEVE (TRADE - B-) - He provided some memorable goals during the season but there were long runs where he was invisible on the pitch. KIANZ FROESE AARON (KEEP - Incomplete) - Has a bright future in a Whitecaps jersey. JAY (KEEP - B.) - Good year in Residency and in the Voyageurs Cup was capped off with a bit of a shock appearance in a Seattle away match where he acclimatized well. Appears to be slightly more "MLS ready" than his other residency counterparts. MICHAEL (KEEP - B.) - Hard to grade obviously, but basing it on his performances for U18s and PDL, as well as MLS. As Jay say, looks MLS ready and he will get a lot of minutes next year in both the first team and USL Pro. Looking forward to seeing his future development and how him and Bustos feature. STEVE (KEEP - B-) - Impressed in the Voyageurs Cup semi-final and after he signed a MLS contract made an remarkable debut in Seattle. Will play a big part next year at each level of the club. GERSHON KOFFIE AARON (TRADE - B-) - Was a tough season for Koffie. Will have to step up next season. Might be a make or break season for him. JAY (KEEP - B.) - After a topsy-turvy 2013, Koffie was able to find his feet beside Matias Laba as a box to box destroyer. He will be pencilled in as a starter once again and will be expected to make another step forward. MICHAEL (KEEP - B-) - I've been on Koffie's back before for not showing what he can do on a consistent basis. Seemed to find his role in the team in the DM role with ease. Could do with a little more offensive presence from him, but on the whole a good season, which could have been even better but for injury. STEVE (KEEP - B.) - Was really coming into his own and forming a nice partnership with Laba before an unfortunate injury knocked him out of the stretch run. MATIAS LABA AARON (KEEP - A) - Thank you TFC for trying to buy a playoff position. Was a master all season long controlling the midfield. JAY (KEEP - A+) - My player of the year for his ever-present tenacity and intelligence in midfield. A huge reason the club was so good defensively this year, and also why they were so good in transition. MICHAEL (KEEP - A) - Was my Player of the Year for the sheer consistency he provided. A couple of off performances and of course a silly red card that will long be remembered, but thankfully that didn't prove costly in the end. He may find himself in a lone DM role next season but will hopefully be in Vancouver for many years to come as he and Kendall Waston would be some players to build the defence around. STEVE (KEEP - A-) - What Pedro Morales meant for the attack, Laba contributed that much to the defence. Was the league leader in a number of defensive categories and Robinson has made it clear that he will be returning to Vancouver next season. NICOLAS MEZQUIDA AARON (KEEP - C-) - Didn't get any really meaningful minutes. Would have liked to see what he can offer. JAY (KEEP - D) - Mezquida was one of the bright spots of the preseason, but after being usurped by Morales, couldn’t find much success in limited minutes. Plenty of ability there, so hopefully one more season with some more minutes will allow Mezquida to blossom. MICHAEL (RELEASE - D) - Was impressed with him more than Fernandez in the preseason but then Morales signing hit his minutes. He looked great in training then didn't quite do it for me when he got his chances in the first team. He could find himself behind homegrowns now in depth chart, but what might save his spot is that he is super low value at $65,000. STEVE (KEEP - C+) - Looked promising in the preseason but then Morales arrived and Mezquida saw little of the pitch. Showed flashes when he did make it there. PEDRO MORALES AARON (KEEP - A-) Great first season for Pedro. Injury concerns made a lot of headlines. 15 straight months on play was wearing on his body. JAY (KEEP - A-) - When he was on his game, he looked like the best player in the league. Unfortunately, there were quite a few times that he wasn’t. A good break should ensure consistency returns to Morales’ game. MICHAEL (KEEP- A-) - Was unstoppable when in full flow but tired and looked jaded as the season went on, which was understandable. How he looks after some rest is now what everyone is awaiting. Caps needs even more next year. STEVE (KEEP - A-) - Morales was a difference maker in the attack for the Caps as he contributed to more than 50% of the team’s goals. However by the end of the season Morales had played for way more than a year straight and it showed. MAURO ROSALES AARON (KEEP - B.) - Really hope he stays next season. Has been a leader on the pitch and has fitted in nicely. JAY (KEEP - B+) - An absolute professional who was the exact tonic the Whitecaps needed. Fits Robinson’s vision, provides leadership, and still has the ability. Hopefully both parties can find a salary number that works. MICHAEL (KEEP - B+) - My admiration of Mauro is well documented already! Class act both on and off the pitch. He looked great as a number 10 in Dallas. Caps need to get him finding the back of the net though. Hopefully a deal can be worked out. STEVE (KEEP - B+) - He gave the Caps a different option in the attack once he was acquired midway through the season. At a reduced price he would definitely be a keep for next season. RUSSELL TEIBERT AARON (KEEP - C+) - A very good season for Teibert but he lost his offensive touch from the previous season. Stepped up with his leadership. JAY (KEEP - C+) - It’s been an odd year for Teibert who seems to find different ways to reinvent himself (both on the pitch and in the salon.) If nothing else, Teibert is a useful utility player and at times looked like the best pair for Laba in midfield. MICHAEL (KEEP - C) - Four years into MLS and we still don't know what Teibert's best position actually is. He had an okay season. Nothing more. Seemed to lose all offensive danger as he settled into a DM role. For me, Koffie and Laba are the starters in a two man defensive shield, but it's likely Robbo will go with a 4-4-2 next season, so hard to see where Teibert fits in as a regular starter. STEVE (KEEP - B-) - Teibert replaced Koffie in the lineup for the final 12 games of the season and the team didn’t miss a beat. Will be hard to keep him out of the eleven if he continues to play at that level. FORWARDS CALEB CLARKE AARON (KEEP - Incomplete) - Another tough year with injuries. JAY (RELEASE - C) - Injured this summer, and never in the Whitecaps team picture anyway. It’s time for Caleb Clarke to part ways with the Whitecaps formally. MICHAEL (KEEP but likely SELL - Incomplete) - It's not so much whether the Caps want to keep Clarke here, as to whether the player wants to play in Vancouver. I believe his contract is up at the end of this year, so he'll move on. Shame, because a fit Clarke down the stretch would have served the Caps well. STEVE (KEEP - Incomplete) - He returned from loan in July but was fighting an injury that made him unavailable for selection. While he would be a perfect fit as a number three striker, his future most likely is returning to Europe. ERIK HURTADO AARON (TRADE - C+) - Struggled most of season with control and his touch. Played a bit better as an up front back to defender striker. JAY (KEEP - C) - Except for a string of five games where everything he touched turn into gold, Hurtado had another tough season. While he found a roll towards the end of the year and drastically improved his hold up play, he still leaves a lot to be desired. The only way Hurtado should stay is if his salary remains low and he ends up as your third or fourth choice striker. MICHAEL (TRADE - C+) - I think the Caps will keep him and he would serve some use coming off the bench. His hold up play towards the end of the season impressed, but that's not what you want your main striker constantly doing. Showed he can score and using him so much down the stretch may attract interest from others in MLS. STEVE (TRADE - C+) - Other than one stretch of games, Hurtado didn’t provide much in the scoring department. The Caps might keep him as a depth player but there could be better options as well. DARREN MATTOCKS AARON (TRADE - C) - He has to be moved. Too often he gave up on himself and his teammates. JAY (TRADE/SELL - D-) - Mattocks looked good early on, working hard and both creating and receiving chances. It seemed as soon as some adversity crept in that he gave up and went back to old Darren. Poor finishing, poor soccer intelligence, poor work rate, and doesn’t seem to want to improve any of them. MICHAEL (TRADE - C) - It looked like we had a new Darren but in the end it was the same one that came out. So many missed opportunities. His trademark arched back with his head in his hands pose will be seen in pastures new next season. Way too expensive to keep, even if he had scored a few more anyway. STEVE (TRADE - C-) - With Camilo moving on, Mattocks had a chance to make the striker position his own but he disappointed with his lack of scoring touch. The Caps will surely look to move the striker in order to make space for a better fit. KEKUTA MANNEH AARON (KEEP - B.) - Will need more minutes to become a quality starter. Showed he is a big game player. JAY (KEEP - C+) - The sophomore slump strikes for Manneh as he struggled early, but he steadily and ended up with decent numbers at the end of the year. Manneh is obviously a game changer, and has all the ability you could ever want. I expect a big season from him next year. MICHAEL (KEEP - C) - Another player that can frustrate the hell out of me at times. We all know what he can do. Seattle definitely know. He's rated highly by those elsewhere in the league who perhaps don't see the poor games and performances he's turned in. Definitely much better off the bench and I don't see that scenario changing too much next season, although he needs to show improvement or it will be worth looking at a future trade. STEVE (KEEP - C) - Manneh struggled to get minutes at the beginning of the year because of an offseason injury and then went cold during the summer. Still a lot promise but needs to translate it onto the pitch next year. OMAR SALGADO AARON (TRADE - D-) - Brings too much trouble off the pitch. Might be time for a change of scenery. JAY (TRADE/SELL - F) - I found it odd that Salgado was such a head case on the squad, because in person he seemed like a friendly and calm guy. Either way, it was a massive disappointment in a year where Omar could have had a chance to be given a starting spot. MICHAEL (TRADE - F) - Ok, maybe an F is a bit harsh, but for me it stands for more than just 'Fail'. Salgado impressed me preseason and I really thought he had a shot this year, but then that old attitude problem came out and there was a stream of disruptive incidents at training and in games. He needs to go for the sake and sanity of everyone and he will. Whether it's within MLS or to Tigres in Mexico, who have made an offer, remains to be seen. STEVE (TRADE - E) - So much potential shown in the preseason but attitude problems have killed his career in Vancouver. Despite having so much talent the club can’t afford to keep him and risk it causing a rift in the locker room. So there's our thoughts on the Whitecaps midfielders and forwards from the season past. Share your thoughts below. The announcements should start coming this week on which players are moving on. Interesting times.
  7. [And if you want to catch up on last year's "Keep, Trade or Release" picks, here are the links - GOALKEEPERS / DEFENDERS / MIDFIELDERS / FORWARDS] GOALKEEPERS MARCO CARDUCCI AARON (KEEP - A) - Stepped up in big time games in the Amway Championship. Played his heart out and has a bright future in a Whitecaps kit. JAY (KEEP - B.) - Played well when called upon. Next season should be a big year with plenty of action in USL Pro, Voyageur’s Cup, and CCL. MICHAEL (KEEP - B-) - He was shaky at times against Toronto, but which keeper isn't at some point and he's still just 18. Solid season with U18s too. Whilst he will undoubtedly get the minutes in Vancouver's new USL Pro side, the big question for the Caps now is whether they make him the first choice back up to Ousted. STEVE (KEEP - B-) - He almost led the Caps to the Voyageurs Cup final if it wasn’t for a bad call in the second leg. Could challenge for the backup spot next year and will see plenty of minutes in USL Pro. DAVID OUSTED AARON (KEEP - B.) - Played well this season. Was amazing for runs at some great times. JAY (KEEP - B+) - Quietly postured himself into the category of one of the best keepers in the league. While he’s on a high salary, his consistency, leadership, and command of the box mean he should be back next year. MICHAEL (KEEP - B+) - Agree that he is up there with the best in MLS, but I still feel he needs to work on some aspects of his game to take him to the top echelons. Love his vocal presence but his positioning can definitely improve. STEVE (KEEP - B+) - Some people still questioned his abilities during the first part of the season but by the end he had made some huge saves and led the league in cleansheets. PAOLO TORNAGHI AARON (KEEP - Incomplete) - I was a big advocate for Tornaghi to get some MLS minutes and people went after me for it on the AFTN podcast. JAY (TRADE - Incomplete) - I don’t understand why Paulo would want to stay around. Unless Ousted gets injured, I don’t see him getting much more time next season either. May be best for both parties if Paulo finds somewhere he can challenge for a starting job. MICHAEL (RELEASE - Incomplete) - He seems too good a keeper to just sit on the bench. He may be happy being here and playing second fiddle to Ousted with no minutes, but that would surprise me. At $72,000 he's cheap but not cheapest out there. I think you have to let him go so he can fight for the number one somewhere, then bring in someone cheaper, move Carducci up or look at someone like Residency alumni Callum Irving, who has been lighting it up for Kentucky this season. STEVE (KEEP - C+) - While he didn’t get any minutes in MLS, Tornaghi didn’t complain and should be back as long as he doesn’t mind the backup role. DEFENDERS SAM ADEKUGBE AARON (KEEP - C+) - Injuries hurt him a bit this season but he filled in nicely when he had to. Could benefit from USL Pro the most of any young players. JAY (KEEP - B+) - Once again looked right at home in an MLS squad. Adekugbe is another player with a huge year ahead of him. MICHAEL (KEEP - B.) - We just didn't see as much of him as I would have liked, but understandable. What we did see was impressive. His composure at the top level is fantastic and he has to get those MLS minutes next year for his development. STEVE (KEEP - B-) - Never looked out of place when he was on the pitch and would have had more playing time if it wasn’t for badly timed injury. Will most likely split his time next year in MLS and USL Pro. STEVEN BEITASHOUR AARON (KEEP - B-) - Filled in really well for the hole left by YP Lee. Health was a concern after he returned from the World Cup. JAY (KEEP - C) - Steady defensively all year, but failed to really step up in the final third as advertised. Considering his fairly sizable salary, and the injuries towards the end of the year, Beitashour has plenty of room for improvement. MICHAEL (TRADE - C) - I was disappointed with what we got out of Beitashour. I expected more and for his value ($177,166) we need to get it. He had no real offensive impact tearing up the wings and team wasn't all that worse without him. I'd be fine with him moving on and getting someone new in if we got a good return. Maybe leave him unprotected in the expansion draft? STEVE (KEEP - C) - Didn’t fulfill what was promised in the preseason but how much of the lack of attack was due to tactics? Hopefully a full season without extended international duty will mean a return to better form. CHRISTIAN DEAN AARON (TRADE - C) - Should of been loaned during season to get quality minutes. Might have been a waste of a season for young Dean. JAY (KEEP - D) - Quite frankly I wasn’t impressed with Dean during his first team minutes. Granted, they were limited and out of position. However, he’s an off-cap player, and with all the extra playing time available, it could be a good development year for him, hopefully showing off in USL Pro. MICHAEL (KEEP - C) - I like Dean. Or rather I like the idea of what Dean can offer as we haven't really got to see it. I think he could form a monster partnership in the middle of the defence with Kendall Waston in time. But will he be prepared to wait? Lack of minutes did frustrate him this year and he may push to be traded. He certainly could be sought after by some clubs. STEVE (KEEP - C) - Looked a little shaky in his limited time. Still a lot of promise and should move a spot on depth chart will give him more opportunity with CCL and USL Pro. JORDAN HARVEY AARON (KEEP - B.) - Might be the best season he has had in MLS. Had some moments he probably wishes he could have back but overall a successful season. JAY (KEEP - B+) - While I think his replacement is MLS ready, Harvey had a fantastic year. Consistent, solid defensively, joined the attack well, and does all the stuff off the field. MICHAEL (KEEP - B.) - I'm a fan of Harvey, as much as for what he brings off the field as on it. He's a good veteran presence in the dressing room and Caps badly need some of those with the young squad. Had a great defensive season but didn't attack as much as I would have like. As Steve said for Beitashour, this might have been Robbo's tactics more than anything else. STEVE (KEEP - B.) - He might have not have been able to duplicate his scoring from the year before but Harvey improved immensely on the defensive side. JOHNNY LEVERON AARON (KEEP - C+) - Looked like he was going to fill Jay DeMerit's spot before Kendall Waston arrived on scene. Is a quality centreback to back up Andy O'Brien and Waston. JAY (KEEP - C+) - Had a hard time getting up to speed after DeMerit went down with injury, but found his feet and became very consistent. Will be a good partner for Waston long term. MICHAEL (KEEP but would consider TRADE - C) - I think it was a backward year for Leveron and he didn't look great at times when he was played. I think he has value for a trade if they look to develop Dean. BUT, him and Andy play well together. I just can't see him being happy staying here and not being a starter. Will hit his international aspirations. Is an interesting decision for Robbo, as he was his guy. STEVE (KEEP - B-) - Started 12 straight matches during the summer before leaving for international duty. He wasn’t able to get his regular spot back but should be the number one choice to start along Waston. CARLYLE MITCHELL AARON (RELEASE - D+) - Had some bad moments this season. The hand ball out of nowhere was a huge mistake. JAY (TRADE - C) - I’ve always liked Mitchell, but I think it’s clear his ceiling is not as high as the rest, and he can be prone to defensive mistakes. I do think he has value, though, so hopefully the Whitecaps can get a couple Garber bucks for him. MICHAEL (RELEASE - C) - A disappointing season for Mitchell and looks like being his last in Vancouver. Heard murmurs that he may head to Korea to link up with old boss Martin Rennie. Was too inconsistent in the minutes that he did get, and you just wait for the bookings to come. STEVE (TRADE - C) - Had a stretch of eight starts where he had ups and downs. Will most likely move on which will help him get more minutes. ANDY O'BRIEN AARON (KEEP - B-) - Don't sell O'Brien isn't just a chant, it should be a Whitecaps lifestyle. Hope he stays in a Caps kit for a few more seasons and helps coach the young USL kids. JAY (KEEP - B.) - It’s hard to criticize a 35 year old centre back for being injured, but it’s really the only thing that went wrong this season for O’Brien. He oozes class and leadership, and is the perfect partner for Kendall Waston. MICHAEL (KEEP - B.) - He was a rock most of the time and formed a great partnership with Kendall Waston down the stretch. There were games in the second half of the season though in which I thought he looked tired. Big fan of his, love talking to the guy and the young players can (and have) learn so much from him. Keep him Robbo! STEVE (KEEP - B.) - The veteran provided steady performances throughout the entire season no matter who his partner was. There is no doubt he should return to the Caps whether as a regular starter or the first option off the bench. ETHEN SAMPSON AARON (KEEP - C+) - Best game of the season against Dallas in the playoffs. Wasn't big on him at beginning of season, didn't think he was adequate as a back up. Surprised me! JAY (KEEP - B.) - Lots of crow eating around the AFTN offices as Sampson impressed any time he was on the pitch. Given his performances versus a talented and athletic Dallas, Robinson shouldn’t hesitate next season to put Sampson in when Beitashour needs a rest. MICHAEL (KEEP - C+) - As regular readers and listeners will know, I've not been sold on Sampson, but he impressed me with his performance against Dallas and looked good at training. Would like to see another season from him as back up at the right back spot. STEVE (KEEP - C+) - Had low to no expectations for the converted central defender. However the right back put in some solid performances. He deserves an opportunity to return but should be provided with competition. KENDALL WASTON AARON (KEEP - A-) - Biggest middle of the season move in Whitecaps MLS history. Needs to work on reducing the yellow cards he picks up for next season. JAY (KEEP - A) - A key reason the Whitecaps were able to turn it around and make the playoffs. My only worry is if he can maintain the exceptional form over a long season. MICHAEL (KEEP - A) - Beast in both boxes. I don't mind his yellow card accumulation as he plays the kind of game I love. Will be interesting to see how other teams try and play against him next season. STEVE (KEEP - B+) - The big bad man is exactly the center back the Whitecaps needed and deserved. His ability to dominate in the air on both sides of pitch will be so valuable to the club next year. So there's our thoughts on the Whitecaps goalkeepers and defenders from the season past. Share your thoughts below. Part Two will be up soon and we'll have a look at the midfielders.
  8. Have a listen! You can listen to this week's podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we've joined Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 15,000 shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on the player below!
  9. Episode 25 of "There's Still Time", the AFTN podcast. It's "The End Of The Season As We Know It" episode, our last post game podcast of the season, but fear not, as we've plenty more episodes to bring you before the end of the year. We recorded this episode at BC Place after the 3-0 win over Colorado and before the breaking news we brought you on Monday that Martin Rennie was no longer the manager of the Caps, so there's a few moot discussion points! Vancouver Whitecaps finished off their season in style and we look back on the game and hear post game audio from captain Jay DeMerit, debutant Sam Adekugbe, the retiring YP Lee, MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo Sanvezzo and in what was his last game as Whitecaps boss, Martin Rennie. We soon turn our attentions to the future and what lies in store for Martin Rennie and the Whitecaps, and speculate about Frank Yallop taking over the reigns. And there's still time to have a look at the MLS playoffs. Who do we want to do well? Who do we think will do well? And what teams would we like to see beat each other to a pulp? Listen and find out! You can listen to this week's podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we've joined Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 15,000 shows HERE. Or you could just listen on the player below!
  10. (Catch up with the series: Part One - GOALKEEPERS / Part Two - DEFENDERS / Part Three - MIDFIELDERS). Here's our thoughts. We want to read yours below.... Forwards: It's been a good year for goals for and you have to wonder just how many more there would have been had there been some creative midfielders in there. Caleb Clarke Steve: (KEEP) - The residency player disappeared on and off the pitch at the beginning of the season which could have been an injury/fitness issue or some disagreements with the current staff. Clarke is currently on loan with German team Augsburg until the end of the European season at which the Caps could get an in form striker who could be an ideal fit for a new system. Michael: (KEEP but we'll sell him) - Really disappointed with the way the Caps have handled Caleb's development, although a lot of it has not been of the club's making as well. He has shown he is an out and out goalscorer and should have been ahead of Hertzog and Heinemann in the pecking order in my view. Now impressing in Germany and training with the Augsburg first team. He'll not be back and we'll sell him to the Bundesliga 2 side, but we could have used him this year. Christopher: (TRADE) - With Sam, Bryce, Gershon, Russell, Simon, and Camilo whenever his paperwork is processed, the club are not in danger of having too few Canadians. I say sell him for as much as we can get, and make sure we get a decent sell-on clause in the transfer. Jay: (TRADE) - It seems like the Whitecaps and Caleb just can't get it figured out. I find it hard to believe that Hertzog or Heinemann are that much better than Clarke to warrant their inclusion in the squad. Either way, it may be best to get a nominal transfer fee from Germany and take some lessons learned into future negotiations with our next promising young residency striker who can't help but score goals, Brody Huitema. Tommy Heinemann Michael: (KEEP) - I flip flop a lot on the hairy one. I loved what he was showing in the Reserves and was calling for him to get MLS minutes, then he did, but didn't impress me much. Giving him those minutes earlier in the season would have possibly helped. Still not convinced he is MLS quality, but he is at least a big striker who is good in the air and you'll struggle to find what he has the potential to bring to the team at a better value than his $51,975 salary. Jay: (KEEP) - There's something I kind of like about Tommy, and he's really excelled in reserves. If he could develop just a <i>little bit more</i>, he'd be a very useful bench player or occasional starter. Either way, he comes cheap so he can be retained without too much worry. Christopher: (KEEP) - Tom proved his value in Montreal. He represents a different kind of forward to the rest of our group and has done well in the reserves, often captaining them. Steve: (Keep) - The team's only striker with size excelled in the Reserve league and even had some bright spots with the first team. I expect the Whitecaps to bring in a couple of strikers and if each of them have decent size and ability to score from a header then Heinemann could be gone. Aaron: (KEEP) Corey Hertzog Christopher: (TRADE) - His skillset is similar to other players who are assured of their place in the squad. Might as well see what we can get for him, and make room for another project, or perhaps Ben Fisk. Jay: (RELEASE) - Unless he returns from FC Edmonton with a glowing report card from Colin Miller, I can't see why Hertzog should be favoured over some of the other youngsters coming up through the residency. Steve: (TRADE) - Another striker who had bright moments but was unable to do anything consistently and eventually was loaned to FC Edmonton for the remainder of the season. At this point I see Hertzog going but he could also stay depending on who the Caps bring in and some others who might stay. Michael: (KEEP) - I like Hertzog. I think he'll be a good striker and if I had to choose between keeping him around or Heinemann, I would pick Hertzog. I'm saying to keep them both as I think that both Clarke and Miller will be away and we need to develop one of them as our third choice striker. Not sure they will both make it through the summer if they do stay. But he needs to play to develop and if he is going to be pushed down the depth chart then it would probably be better for him to be released and go to the re-entry draft. His cheap at around $60k and I'm not sure we can bring in too much better for that price. Erik Hurtado Jay: (TRADE) - Unless the Whitecaps are playing a post season friendly with the BC Lions, Hurtado has shown that the Caps have players who are better, or younger, or both, and the problem will only get worse if Salgado returns. Time to see if the Whitecaps can trade Hurtado and get something back for that high draft pick. Steve: (TRADE) - The first round pick didn't have a great season and clearly was not the player marketed by the Caps and others at the beginning of the season. The fact that Hurtado is not a Generation Adidas player hurts as his guaranteed salary of $81,500 currently counts against the cap and there are better options like Ben Fisk in the system. Michael: (TRADE) - There were times this year I thought Hurtado may just make the breakthrough and we'll never know what an early goal might have done for the player. He was one of the most consistent Whitecaps players - regularly being let down by his first touch, and often his second and third as well. I'm not sure how much others will see in his potential for a trade and his salary will definitely make some baulk. I'd try and package him with one of our first round draft picks for a MLS veteran fullback or midfielder. Christopher: (KEEP/TRADE) - Vancouver doesn't have to trade him, but it's worth exploring what Portland, Chivas, or someone else would be willing to part with. The jury's still out on him. These are the kinds of problems clubs love to have. Aaron: (KEEP) Had a season goal of 5 MLS goals. Wasn't even close to that. Needs to work in his first touch and finishing for next season. Kekuta Manneh Aaron: (KEEP) - Has been a pleasant surprise this year. Needs to work on his on ball strength for next season. Still only 18 years old and his future his bright. Jay: (KEEP) - I've been high on Manneh since we drafted him. No reason to believe he can't continue to develop either. Hopefully, by the end of next season, he will be an integral part of the Whitecaps attack. Steve: (KEEP) - With his late flurry of goals the 18 year old has jumped into third on the team in scoring and when you consider his age and limited playing time it makes the feat even more amazing. While he may not be a regular in the eleven Manneh should at least be the first or second option off the bench when the team needs an equalizer or a winner. Christopher: (KEEP) - An 18 year old, domestic, Generation Adidas player, who when all is said and done, may be the star of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft when we look back on that class in a few years time. Michael: (KEEP) - Will be interesting to see how Manneh's terrible twos year turns out. There is a lot of pressure on him now to perform at the top level but I think we've also seen in the recent games that his touch can be wild, as can his shots. I like how Rennie managed him to an extent, bringing him on slowly, it's just felt too slow. Will be happy to see him as out first choice sub and occasional starter next year at the very least. Darren Mattocks Steve: (Trade) - After a decent rookie season Mattocks has regressed this season despite being given every opportunity to succeed as the primary striker. He will surely graduate from his Generation Adidas contract which makes the one dimensional striker way too expensive for the Whitecaps. Michael: (TRADE) - And possibly many other teams too. He needs to be shown the door. Hopefully he doesn't miss the opening. Disappointing second year where it seems that like Samson with his locks, we took all the undisciplined aggression out of his game and his skill and finishing went with it. Woeful misses and looking like a one trick pony. He could thrive in a team that plays the long ball game, but he's been found out and can't seem to bring anything else to his game. Christopher: (KEEP) - I would say trade, but it's a case of high risk, low reward. His value isn't too high right now, and in the right situation, he could become a superstar in this league. Jay: (TRADE) - He has the physical tools to be very useful, and will probably score a lot of goals in MLS. I just don't think it'll be on a winning team. He doesn't seem to <i>get</i> the game, and makes poor decisions, poor passes, and is generally just lazy. Aaron: (KEEP) - Let's face it, he was never going to replicate what he did last season. Had some bad luck and will need to regain his mental toughness. Kenny Miller Christopher: (TRADE) - He'll celebrate his 34th birthday before the start of the 2014 season. A decline is coming, and it will be rapid. Get as much money as you can, while you can. Jay: (TRADE) - As integral as he was to our attack, it may be time to cash in on the aging Scotsman. I wouldn't mind keeping him, but paying $1.12 million for an oft-injured poacher, who, if we're honest, isn't really great at poaching anymore, is pretty poor business. Time for his Rangers swan song. Aaron: (KEEP) - Contract extension shows he wants to be here. Hopefully he can stay healthy and continue his current success. If Demerit isn't brought back he is likely our new captain. Michael: (RELEASE) - The whole contract extension baffles me a little. I saw it as a ploy to shut some media up but also to try and get some sort of a transfer fee. Except who is going to pay it? Rangers may want him but he's ageing and they're flying through the lower leagues with their new crop of young talent. They also don't have much money to spend on fees. I'm a Miller fan, but he is too costly for what he can bring next season and all the injury risks. If they can release him without any sort of cap repercussions, that would be my way forward. Cite the old family couldn't settle excuse. Steve: (Trade) - When Miller was healthy he was valuable enough to earn his Designated Player status with his work rate and finishing ability. However he was injured for large chunks of the season and seems to be headed back to play somewhere in the U.K. with the only question being if the Caps can get something for him. Omar Salgado Jay: (KEEP) - One year on bargain basement salary numbers to see if he can still run or if his feet are indeed made of glass. Michael: (Prefer RELEASE but probably KEEP) - I still don't think we'll ever see him play in a Whitecaps jersey in MLS again. And we still don't know just what he can consistently give us. He was poor, then changed positions and seemed good, then have the injury mare. Have to feel for the kid, but agree with Jay that if we can get him in on a bargain basement salary then keep him around, at least until next summer to get a look at him. There has been no decision yet as to whether MLS will allow him to continue on a Generation Adidas contract. Aaron: (TRADE)- Next year could still be his first year where his salary isn't Generation Adidas. I don't see him being back next season in a Caps kit. Steve: (KEEP)- Another wasted year for Salgado who was unable to get on the pitch because of a chronic foot injury. The only way he stays in Vancouver is if the secret MLS council grants the striker another year on a Generation Adidas player as his cap charge is too rich for the risk of another injury. Christopher: (KEEP) - Out of contract, but with a club option and he's probably still a Generation Adidas player. I say exercise the option and hope for the best. Low risk and high reward makes it an easy choice. Camilo Sanvezzo Michael: (KEEP if we can) - There's no way the Whitecaps wouldn't want to keep him in any circumstances, but with the team failing to make the playoffs, getting rid of one of your few shining lights in the season would be a PR disaster. All that said, I think we have to be more worried about someone in Europe, especially the UK, looking at the stats and the salary and snapping him up in the winter transfer window. The hole that would leave in our attack is a frightening prospect. Steve: (Keep) - There is no question that the Brazilian has been the best player for the Caps leading the team in goals and helping create quite a few as well. He has professed his love for Vancouver as well as Canada and there may be a riot if he leaves but if a mid seven figure transfer is offered will the front office have something to think about. Jay: (KEEP) - There's no question Camilo is one of the greatest talents in the league. Let him have another 12+ goal season next year, and then get out the DP pen, and hand him a blank cheque. Christopher: (KEEP/TRADE) - Camilo is at something of a crossroads. He'll want another pay raise. He's working to become a Canadian citizen. And his trade value is at an all-time high. A bit of a sadistic choice really. Either way, it could come back to haunt the Whitecaps. Aaron: (KEEP) - Has got a raise every season since he has been in Vancouver. Has shown he is a true finisher. May be hard to live up to these goals next season. So that's our look at the strikers. Let us know your thoughts below. Lot of questions around a few of the guys though and who can rise to the occasion for another stellar goalscoring year. When you look back at the all the missed opportunities though, we probably do need to strengthen with a decisive poacher or two. And that now concludes our series, with the proposed look at the management team now shelved!
  11. The 2013 MLS season is all over bar one last shouting for Vancouver Whitecaps. There needs to be changes and there will be, of both players and management, and they will start happening from next week. Should these be wholesale or should the Caps keep a core and build around them? We got all of AFTN's writers for this season to take a look at the current Whitecaps squad and say whether they would keep them around for next season, trade them for more valuable assets or to fill positions of need, or just release them into the wild altogether. We continue the feature with a look at the midfielders. (You can read part one on the goalkeepers HERE and part two on the defenders HERE). Here's our thoughts. We want to read yours below.... Midfielders: It was clear to everyone from early on that the Whitecaps midfield was the weakest area of the field, with no effective depth and very little creativity. Everyone but Martin Rennie it appeared, who was quite happy to keep the players he had and not strengthen in the transfer window. The results were clear to see for most of the season until the late change to the diamond formation paid off with some decent displays. Next season though has to see changes. Aminu Abdallah Jay: (RELEASE) - I've seen nothing which suggests Abdallah deserves the contract or development time ahead of someone like Alderson (or Fisk, or Froese, or Bustos.) Time for Aminu to bid adieu. Steve: (RELEASE) - This season's version of Tiago Ulisses or Alex Morfaw, Abdallah has shown very little in PDL and Reserve action to warrant a spot on the team next season. There were a number CIS and academy players that outperformed the Ghanaian and the fact that he takes up an international spot seals the deal. Michael: (RELEASE) - I'm prepared to go one step further and say he was one of the worst players I've ever seen in a Whitecaps jersey. Some horrible PDL performances. If he can't even shine at that level, what's the point? Have to really question how the hell he was allowed to not only fill a MLS spot but also a valuable international one at that. Give that $46,500 to a Residency prospect asap. Christopher: (KEEP) - I expect Aminu's career path to mirror Carlyle's. He's not ready yet, but he'll be well worth the wait. Aaron: (KEEP) - Will more then likely be loaned out next season to give him quality minutes to help with his development. Bryce Alderson Christopher: (KEEP) - He's 19 years old, Canadian, and homegrown. No reason to ask this question for at least another three years. Aaron: (KEEP) - Had a good season in Charleston but needs to start playing at a MLS level. Still young enough to be loaned out again but decisions will need to be made on his future. Steve: (KEEP) - He started the season with a knee injury, which hampered his ability to get a spot on the Charleston Battery right away. He is still way too young to give up on and should either go out on loan or be a depth player where he will get his minutes in Reserve matches. Jay: (KEEP) - We're getting close to time to make a decision on the one promising youngster. Perhaps one more season spent on loan, or even working him in to a few reserve games and substitute appearances. Michael: (KEEP) - Agree. Next season is going to be a make or break one for Bryce with the Whitecaps. His injury was frustrating to all, but the 2012 season was more frustrating for me as he showed well in preseason then wasn't given any chance to show what he had. I feel he's lost nearly two years development and really needs to have a good 2014, somewhere. Jun Marques Davidson Aaron: (RELEASE) - He been the fans whipping boy all season long. Can't see him being here next season. Sure his $78,019 guaranteed salary is a third of others but he hasn't played well at all. Steve: (TRADE) - People either liked Davidson or couldn't stand how he played negatively in the midfield. If the Caps are going to bring in a couple of midfielders I don't see them keeping him as a depth player. Not sure if any team will want him in a trade so a full release is possible. Michael: (KEEP) - Couldn't disagree more. He's played excellently much of the season. People criticise his defensive style but he is clearly playing the way Rennie wanted him to as a DM, otherwise he wouldn't have kept getting starts. I don't think he'll be a starter next season but definitely want to keep him on the squad as back up and for certain away games. Christopher: (KEEP) - I've always said that Davidson is at his best when you can't remember him doing anything. In that, he's the anti-DeMerit. He doesn't need to make a last minute tackle because he's usually already broken up the play through his awareness and positioning. Jay: (KEEP) - As critical as I've been of Jun at times, I do feel there's a place for him and his contract value isn't terrible. Ideally, I'd love an upgrade in his position; someone who could both be the smart defensive support, but also someone who can spring an attack as well. However, this is not our position of greatest need, so we should hold on to Jun unless something magical appears. Daigo Kobayashi Michael: (RELEASE) - Too little, too late from the Japanese midfielder. Was it due to Rennie playing him in the wrong position or just that he isn't up to the standard needed for MLS. In all honesty, it's probably both. His linking up with his friend Manneh was good the last few games, but I'm not prepared to give him another expensive season to see if he can do this for more than a couple of games a season. A busted flush and can't see anyone wanting to trade for him, so set him free. Aaron: (KEEP) - Fourth highest paid Whitecap at $238,833 guaranteed this year and third highest on base. That was the biggest surprise when the salaries where made public. I think he has had the Kenny Miller type freshman slump. Next year will be the season where he has to prove he is worth the pay. Steve: (TRADE) - When Kobayashi was brought in at the beginning of the season, most believed he would replace the playmaking ability of Chiumiento. Unfortunately he was put in a wide position by the coaching staff where he was invisible to the point that he could not get into the starting eleven. He showed flashes but was it enough for Rennie or a new coach to keep him at such a high salary? Christopher: (KEEP) - He reminds me of another Japanese number 10 who can't seem to catch a break in his preferred position. When he's on, he can be amazing. He has too much talent to let go. But he's not a winger. Jay: (RELEASE) - I've been a big supporter of Daigo's all year. I do feel he's been misused and if he had been played in a number 10 role all year and the rest of the squad had been focused on building the attack through him, that he would have flourished. Unfortunately, he only got a look there late in the season. Too little, too late, and we can't gamble on him finding his feet at that expensive salary. Gershon Koffie Steve: (KEEP) - There will be questions as to what happened to Koffie down the stretch of the season. Did the coaches mess with his game to the point where he got confused or does Koffie need to show more consistency and edge to his game. He has too much potential to give up on and next season should be given a chance to possibly play DM full time. Jay: (KEEP) - After two seasons of big steps forward, Gersh took a sidestep. Developed certain parts of his game, but stalled in others. At times it seems like there hasn't been enough room out there for Koffie when Reo-Coker is on the field, but there is still plenty of reason to believe Gersh can contribute. Christopher: (KEEP) - He's had an up and down season. It feels like he's been around forever, so it's easy to forget that he just turned 22. As much as I personally loathe the practice, Vancouver's 28 may one day be held in the same regard as 5, 10, and 21. Aaron: (KEEP) - The selling Gershon to Europe talk has stopped lately. Has benefitted from Reo-Coker's experience this season. Needs to start controlling his body on challenges to get the yellow card count down. Michael: (KEEP but TRADE if a good deal came along): I just don't get this love affair people seem to have for Koffie. What is it that they're seeing that I seem to be completely missing? He has a couple of great games a season, scores a couple of goals, but on the whole is far too inconsistent and can't control his tackling and often his wild shots. He looked ok as a DM and this could be the role for him as he certainly isn't the attacking or creative midfielder that the Caps are needing as a starter. I would gladly trade him for a more experienced, reliable and consistent MLS midfielder if one was to come along. He is not a $176,000 MLS player right now. Nigel Reo-Coker Jay: (KEEP) - I had written this big long bit about why we should release Nigel. Missing in action during the most important moments of the season, poor defending, goes missing for giant swaths of games. He's going to want a salary bump. Quite frankly, he doesn't deserve it. However, the one thing Nigel has going for him is that without him, our midfield would have been a complete abomination. Unless we go out and completely revamp our midfield, I think he must be brought back if only because we have no other options. Steve: (KEEP) - He may have faded a little in the final stages of the season but you definitely have to say where would the Caps be without Reo-Coker in the midfield? On some nights he was the only factor in the middle and made some incredible runs. However he hasn't shown enough to earn a DP contract that was rumoured in the preseason but should get a bump in his salary. Michael: (KEEP but only on right deal and there is dressing room harmony) - Can't disagree with any of the above. I wrote an article of NRC a few weeks back and nothing has changed my mind since then. He was the only midfielder to really come away from this season with any credit but isn't worth too much more of a payrise above his guaranteed $237,362 and certainly not DP money. Will he want to stay for that amount of money when he could definitely get more back in the UK? Can the right deal be done? How much harmony or disharmony does he actually bring to the dressing room? If the answer to all of these questions is positive, then glad to have him around for 2014. If not, happy to see him go and sad at the same time. Christopher: (KEEP) - He's performed as expected and no doubt will be a designated player next year. He may even end up as Captain on a permanent basis. Aaron: (KEEP) - Has been a reliable midfielder in a horrible midfield season this year. Needs to work on his finishing for sure. Still don't think he deserves DP money next season. Russell Teibert We're putting him in with the midfielders as that is his natural position. Aaron: (KEEP) - Has shown what a young prospect can do when they get quality MLS minutes. Will need to add more scoring touch to his game for next season. Adding 7-10 lbs of muscle can only help him attacking defenders. Steve: (KEEP) - The 'broken' Canadian emerged as a threat in the attack and established himself as a starter in MLS leading the team in assists with 8, despite suffering through a period of illness. Here's hoping the coaching staff next season recognizes how well his game is suited centrally where he can be a playmaker and penetrate the backline with his runs. Christopher: (KEEP) - In 2012, Paul Ritchie personally took Russell under his wing. Now he's learning from Nigel Reo-Coker. There's a reason he's nicknamed Canadian Soccer Jesus. He has nowhere to go but up. Michael: (KEEP) - As with Alderson, next season is going to be a vital one for Teibert's future with the Caps and maybe in MLS. He had a good two months this year, but that was about it and for me he is a little overrated, as his play the rest of the time showed. He definitely has potential and skill but these will need to be utilised properly next season to show consistent growth. Without it, I could see him moving on down the line, but I also feel that we won't have to worry about that as I think a new coach will bring the best out of Teibert. I do like his cheapness at $65,600. Jay: (KEEP) - A real rollercoaster year for the trendy youngster who at times dominated his side of the park, and at the end of the year lost his starting spot to Matt Watson. Either way, his technical ability and unreal work ethic is worth keeping him around. Matt Watson Christopher: (KEEP) - Even if Matty weren't a fan-favourite, an Englishman, and a decent footballer who deserves to play at this level, I'd still recommend keeping him around. His tireless work rate on the training ground can be infectious. He has a positive impact on those around him. Steve: (KEEP) - An honest effort and a high work rate is what you're going to get when Watson is on the pitch for the Caps. He may not be the most gifted player but MLS teams need players like him at his rate on the roster. He is a fan favourite and one of the unsung players on the team. Aaron: (KEEP) - Has been a decent all season. They need a player of his skill set to fill holes next season. At $79,251 guaranteed, he can fill many needs when injuries occur. Jay: (KEEP) - Runs all day, trains hard, seems like a genuine guy that everyone likes, and he's on a cheap salary. Don't see why you would get rid of him. Michael: (RELEASE) - Funny you should say that. I'll tell you why! Hard work and a lot or running can only get you so far and at the top level of the game you need more to be an impactful midfielder. As great a guy as Matty is, he doesn't have the skills to pay the bills. He can't finish, as he showed us last week in Colorado. Watson role in the squad is primarily to be the go to guy to fill in for injuries, out of form players, or to bring a refreshing change. We need a better player than he is to fill that role. If he took a pay cut and was the third or fourth in the midfield depth then maybe I'd keep him around, but otherwise not only can we do better but we should be expecting that we get better. So that's our midfield round-up. Do you agree with the guys? Or are we, or some of us at least, talking out of our ass? Let us know your thoughts below. Tomorrow, it's the striker's turn.
  12. The 2013 MLS season is all over bar one last shouting for Vancouver Whitecaps. There needs to be changes and there will be, of both players and management, and they will start happening from next week. Should these be wholesale or should the Caps keep a core and build around them? We got all of AFTN's writers for this season to take a look at the current Whitecaps squad and say whether they would keep them around for next season, trade them for more valuable assets or to fill positions of need, or just release them into the wild altogether. We continue the feature with a look at the defenders. (You can read part one on the goalkeepers HERE). Here's our thoughts. We want to read yours below.... Defenders: With YP Lee retiring, we already know that there's a big right back void to fill, but will there also be a clear out elsewhere in the defence? Sam Adekugbe Michael: (KEEP) - An obvious keep but we have to include him! Everyone needs to temper their expectations of Sam a little so as not to put him under too much pressure to perform. We're one of the worst I know, but we rate him very highly from watching him these past few years. He's a level headed young pro with a bright future in the game, hopefully for the Caps for many years to come. Next season may be too early to see him claim the starters spot but it will happen, and who knows? As Yedlin has shown in Seattle, it's talent, not age, that matters most. Jay: (KEEP) - An easy decision, with the only question being when he will appear regularly for the first team. No reason to believe it can't be sooner rather than later. If Harvey is kept, I hope it's with one eye towards Sam overtaking the starter spot by the end of next season. Christopher: (KEEP) - Sam won't replace Jordan in 2014 and maybe not even in 2015, but at some point he will become Vancouver's starting left full back, and remain in that role for the rest of the decade. Aaron: (KEEP) - At 18 years of age he may be 2-3 years away from being a MLS starter. Whitecaps need to start playing the young prospects more with meaningful minutes moving forward. Steve: (KEEP) - He's already shown in MLS Reserves that he not only can hang playing at that level but he can excel against men. Adekugbe will be the primary backup at the left back position and will see starts with the first team and the Reserve league where he will show that his age will not be an issue. Jay DeMerit Jay: (TRADE) - It'd be a bit of a heartless move, considering his recent marriage to a Vancouver gal, but with the emergence of Leveron and Mitchell, and O'Brien's new contract, DeMerit is good value to be shipped out. Perhaps he's just allowed to sign elsewhere, considering his contract is up, but it'd be nice to extend him now and trade him at the beginning of next season. Michael: (TRADE) - I don't think we can keep two ageing, injury prone, high salaried central defenders around. Something's got to give. I've never thought that DeMerit was as good as we needed from a captain and a player at a guaranteed $375,000. In the air yes. On the ground, scary. I feel he has great trade potential to some clubs and could get us the return we need in another position, but we will only retain his rights if we make an attempt to re-sign him. I'd keep him around if we could get him on or just above Brad Rusin money. If it's an offseason of upheaval, it will be hard to get rid of the club's poster boy from a general fans perspective. Christopher: (KEEP) - I'd like to see him take a bit of a pay cut. A rolling contract would be preferred, but it may take the security of a multi-year contract to convince him to accept reduced terms. His recovery from a potential season-ending injury has been phenomenal. Underestimate him at your own peril. Steve: (KEEP) - The Captain worked hard to get back into the lineup after suffering what seemed to be a season ending injury and he performed well late in the season. They can't keep both DeMerit and O'Brien. If he is willing to take a pay cut then he should be welcomed back as he is the "face" of the franchise and is a domestic player. Aaron: (TRADE) - They may not be able to afford keeping him moving forward. With his injury history it may be time to move on and look towards the future. Jordan Harvey Christopher: (KEEP) - The much maligned fullback has scored some important goals for Vancouver this term and earned one of the five nominations for the club's most valuable player. In a budget league, he's value for the money. Steve: (TRADE) - How do you trade a player who is the leader amongst defenders in goals? First, he is inconsistent in going forward and delivering a decent ball into the box. Second, Harvey is very poor defensively and seems to be always out of position. His goals currently give the left back a high value and could bring in some decent assets that will help the team get better in other positions in addition to looking for a more dynamic fullback. Aaron: (KEEP) He has had some highest of highs and lowest of lows this season. At $112,500 this season he hasn't played to his potential. I give him a 50/50 chance of being on the roster at the beginning of next season. Jay: (TRADE) - Harvey has a neverending engine, and puts himself in smart attacking positions consistently, but is rather poor positionally, isn't particularly good at 1v1 defending, and doesn't really provide quality service. He will have value, though, as a MLS veteran and having a career year in the goal column. Michael: (TRADE) - I fully expected him to be traded before the first transfer window closed in May this year. I do like what he's brought to the team in an attacking sense and always preferred him in a LM role. Defensively though, which is why he's there, he's been picked out by teams as the weak link and been attacked in a lot of games. There would be a number of teams keen to trade for his services and I can see him heading back East. His presence off the pitch would be missed, as he is a rare find these days, a player with a real personality that is a joy to interview and livens up the dressing room. Greg Klazura Jay: (RELEASE) - Although a quality squad guy, his early promise quickly diminished and it's clear he's no longer trusted. Time for the intelligent young man to go use his education. Aaron: (RELEASE) - Hasn't been given a chance this season. Too far down the depth chart. Don't see him coming back next season. Christopher: (RELEASE) - As much as I want to see Greg succeed, it won't be in Vancouver. Best to let him go and develop an academy player or draftee instead. Michael: (RELEASE) - It's just not worked out for Greg. We liked what we saw of him in the 2012 training camp when he played left back and championed him along the way. In MLS play though he had a mare and just doesn't look top flight quality. Rennie described him as a "project", but it looks like that's now over. Could see him concentrating on his medical career after leaving Vancouver. We wish him well wherever he ends up and will miss what became our traditional gameday elevator chats! Steve: (RELEASE) - It's apparently clear that Klazura is not ready for the primetime of MLS, even if he excels in training and in reserve matches. I don't think the Caps can get anything for him and if he is looking to continue his career in football then it will have to be in a lower league. Johnny Leveron Steve: (KEEP) - It took a while for the Honduran international to get into the lineup but when he did there was no doubt he was capable of playing in MLS. Next season Leveron will be the competition for a starting spot in either a central defender or a holding midfielder role. Aaron: (KEEP) - With all the injuries he was called upon to step up and he did just fine. May be switched to a holding MF moving forward but will be a big part of this team next season and a bargain at $71,187. Christopher: (KEEP) - In Johnny and Carlyle, Vancouver has their centre back pairing of the future... today. When they play together at the back, the Whitecaps are 4-1-1, and conceded a mere 6 goals. Jay: (KEEP) - Leveron is young, cheap, and has ice in his veins. Honestly, if you told me Johnny would be one of our starting centrebacks next season, I wouldn't complain. Michael: (KEEP) - You have to keep him, but you also have to use him or lose him. Where though could be the problem. Will he retake a CB spot or move to DM or even LB? Will be a key year for the young Honduran, but he is too quality a player to not utilise. Carlyle Mitchell Michael: (KEEP) - The surprise package of the year. We were fans of his but didn't know he was ready to be just as good as he proved to be. Great to see a player seize the opportunity presented to him with both hands. With a likely coaching change, preseason will be key for Mitchell or I see him falling into the back up role again. He's cheap as chips at the moment and deserves an increase on his $46,500. Steve: (KEEP) - No one could have expected Mitchell to be where he finished the season, especially when he started fifth on the depth chart and was loaned to FC Edmonton. He quickly established himself as one of the better defenders in the league after injury issues signalled his return to Vancouver, where despite a couple of hiccups became a solid defender for the Caps. Aaron: (KEEP) - Has shown he needs MLS minutes moving forward. Has played like a beast all season. I see him starting as a CB next to O'Brien next season. Christopher: (KEEP) - Although Russell and Camilo have given him a run for his money, I would say that Carlyle has been Vancouver's most improved player. If not for numerous and sustained injuries, he might have spent the entire season in Edmonton. Instead, he's made a case for himself as a starter next year. Jay: (KEEP) - Easily the best on the squad in the air, and one of the most dominant in the league. Mitchell and Leveron could be the starting centreback combination for years to come. Andy O'Brien Aaron: (KEEP) - With his contract extension you expect that he will play a huge part next year. Hoping he continues his mentoring of Mitchell moving forward. Michael: (KEEP) - I'm glad about that extension as I want to see him as the starter next season, but we can't keep both him and DeMerit and I have a fear that public pressure will see DeMerit kept on a lower salary and O'Brien will move on and probably back to England, which would be a mistake by the Caps. Steve: (TRADE) - After DeMerit went down it was O'Brien who became the leader on the backline but he couldn't avoid his own injury issues being away for big chunks of the season. His taking up an international spot would be the only reason that I would think he would leave. Of course if a deal with DeMerit can't be completed then O'Brien should return as a starter. Jay: (KEEP) - While he's getting on in age, O'Brien proved yet again to be a reliable leader at the back. He seems to genuinely be happy in Vancouver, and his no nonsense yet clever defending has earned him another year. Christopher: (KEEP) - For a while there, he was probably Vancouver's most valuable player. When match fit, he should play. Cheaper than DeMerit but still expensive at $230, 012. Brad Rusin Christopher: (TRADE) - Like the rest of Vancouver's centre backs, he's had more than his fair share of injuries. If DeMerit and O'Brien are going to be sticking around, he has to as well. If one of them were replaced by a younger player, he might find himself on the trading block. Jay: (TRADE) - He's done well when called upon, but it's clear both Mitchell and Leveron have moved passed Brad on the depth chart. He's too expensive to be your 4th choice centreback, so the Whitecaps would be wise to trade him to a team with defensive woes like TFC for another high draft pick. Michael: (RELEASE) - I don't know what it is about Rusin, but I've never really taken to him on the team. Just don't feel he's good enough for the top level. He's last in the pecking order now for me and his $120,000 salary can't justify that. If we could get a trade, then great but I can't see anyone wanting him on the current salary and with his injuries and lack of gametime this year. Steve: (TRADE) - There was nothing particularly wrong with Rusin's play this season as he showed he can be a solid depth player and a spot starter in MLS. However at his salary and the emergence of Mitchell, as well as Leveron, the defender should be traded. He could bring some allocation money which will help elsewhere. Aaron: (KEEP) - Has had such bad luck with all the injuries this season. Hopefully he can stay healthy and been a dependable CB sub next season. So that's the end of the second part of our 2013 player analysis. On the whole consensus was reached but some of the more contentious players are a little more polarizing, which I'm sure many also are to those reading this. In part three, we'll take a look at the midfielders, which yes, the Whitecaps did apparently have a few of this season. But leave your thoughts on what you'd like to do with the Caps' current crop of defenders.
  13. Goalkeepers: Four keepers on the books is a luxury most MLS teams don't afford themselves. Bad management, hand tied by MLS rules or a bit of both? Whatever it was, you know they're not all going to be in Vancouver next year. Joe Cannon Steve: (TRADE) - There has been no official announcement from Cannon as to whether he will look to play another year but if he does then he can't return at his current guaranteed salary of $189,916. However, the starting keeper at the beginning of the season could return if he is willing to have his salary cut in at least half. Michael: (RELEASE/RETIRE but...) - Joe's stayed classy to the end, tweeting this week that fans shouldn't want him to play on Sunday but go with the future and Simon Thomas. Wherever the future takes him I hope he gets what he wants out of it. I have this sneaking feeling that he may still be around. If Yallop was to get the manager's job, he may want to keep Joe as goalkeeping coach. With his wage from that, he could then be on the books as a third keeper at a super low salary for emergencies. Jay: (RELEASE) - Let this old steed ride off into the sunset. He may wish to try again somewhere else, but it's likely time to move on to coaching for Joe. Aaron: (RELEASE) - His time is done in Vancouver. There is no way he will be back as a player in a Whitecaps kit. He would be a great addition as a youth development goalkeeper coach with this organization. Christopher: (RELEASE) - I don't think Joe's done yet. He'll probably take the biggest paycheque he can find, but I don't see it being in Vancouver. If I'm wrong, I'd have no problem with him backing up the starting goalkeeper. Brad Knighton Christopher: (TRADE) - He's made it clear that he doesn't want to be a backup, and that's the only job he's going to get in Vancouver. His time here has enhanced his value, but he may have to drop back down into NASL again. Sadly, this was probably his best shot at being a starter in MLS. Aaron: (TRADE) - He has a very small salary $68,600 but he wants to be a starter in this league. Has stated that he misses home and sitting on the bench might push him to move on with his career. Jay: (TRADE) - Holding on to Brad may cause dressing room division. Move him on if you can get a handful of allocation money to a team who could use a cheap keeper looking to challenge for a starting job. Steve: (TRADE) - Early in the season he was given the reigns to be the number one keeper and while he showed flashes, the Seattle home game, there was a lack of consistency. There is no way Knighton will be happy with staying in Vancouver as the backup and could prove to be a distraction so a move to another club or cutting ties completely would be ideal. Michael: (TRADE) - He's a good keeper but his weak points still don't make him a strong MLS starter for me. I'm not sure he wants to be a backup again anywhere at this stage of his career. His performances may make him tradable but I don't see too many takers and none as a starter in this league, although his low salary will appeal for what they are getting. I see him dropping back down to NASL level. I'm pretty sure he's also relishing a return to living in the US. David Ousted Steve: (KEEP) - He was their only summer window acquisition and while many don't feel he made much a difference, he was an improvement over what they had before. Ousted has already shown that he does well to challenge shots and will only improve with a full preseason where he can develop a better chemistry with his backline. Jay: (KEEP) - It's hardly been a smooth transition for the fiery Dane, but he appears to have the tools to succeed at this level. Although the circumstances surrounding his signing were not ideal, he should be kept around next season. Christopher: (KEEP) - He's had something of a rocky start in Vancouver, but few of the goals he's conceded could be attributed to him. No one can stop every goal. And unlike others in his profession, he doesn't seem to dwell on the ones he could have stopped. He simply moves on and tries to stop the next one. Aaron: (KEEP) - Starting keeper moving forward for this team. Will benefit with a off season and training camp in Vancouver. Don't know if he is a long term solution. He has stated he has EPL dreams in the next 3-4 yrs. Michael: (KEEP) - I'm a fan of his and I think we will see this prove to be a great acquisition in the long run and for $166,156, it's pretty good money. I like how he comes off his line and, on the whole, his kicking and distribution. I do feel he should have done better with some of the goals this year however and worry that we may not see the best out of him if he isn't feeling challenged for the number one spot. Simon Thomas Aaron: (KEEP) - With the salary cap crunch the team is in he may have to step up and be the back up next season. With a salary of $35,125 it would open up money to make a move shoring up the midfield. Jay: (KEEP) - Simon has looked decent in PDL and Reserve league games. For his own sake, he'd be smart to stick around and try and land the backup keeper position. If he's unable to find some minutes next season, perhaps it's time for him to find minutes elsewhere. Michael: (KEEP) - I agree with Jay and I think he will make the backup position his own, but he needs to rise to the occasion and challenge for the starting spot. When we spoke with him at the start of the year, he said he wasn't here to just play second fiddle. Now we need to see that desire and see him rise to really challenge Ousted preseason. Steve: (KEEP) - The current staff seems to have confidence that Thomas has the ability to be a keeper in MLS and he showed it when he played in Reserve matches and shutout the United States in an international friendly. With his low salary he would be an ideal fit as a backup to Ousted where he will be the regular starter in Reserve matches. Christopher: (KEEP) - It's only a matter of time before he's replaced by Marco Carducci, but until then, his continued presence will be mutually beneficial to player and club. In an ideal world, he'll develop into a senior backup by then. So that's the end of the first part of our 2013 player analysis. At least one goalie will move on, but you have to think it will be more. In part two, we'll take a look at the defenders. Out with the old and in with the young, or will some of the old guard still be hanging around for a while yet?
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