The Bright Side: Extracting the positives from a tough Whitecaps summer

It’s no secret – this Whitecaps “rebuilding season” has not gone as well as the fans have hoped. 

With the promise of a new coach, some exciting new players, and a new throwback season kit, fans were optimistic about this season. Many supporters were tired of the Whitecaps’ “Robbo Ball” counter-attacking philosophy under Carl Robinson, and were looking forward to a fresh start under Marc Dos Santos. A fresh start is exactly what they got. Many fans will recall the opening home match of the season at BC Place on March 2nd, and will remember analyzing the match program given to them before the match. The program laid out a quick summary of all the new faces on the Whitecaps team, and gave fans an idea of what to expect in terms of personnel for the season. The amount of new players was overwhelming. Only a few familiar faces remained – Russel Teibert, Doneil Henry, Jake Nerwinski, Felipe, Yordy Reyna, and a slightly older Fredy Montero. No one had much of an idea what to expect.

Jump forward 5 months. 

We are now well past the halfway mark of the season, and things are not going well for the Whitecaps. The ‘Caps are sitting at rock bottom (12th) in the Western Conference, with the least goals scored and the worst goal differential, with a record of 5 W, 9 D, and 12 L. 

It’s easy (and understandable) to get frustrated about the current situation for the Whitecaps, but what positives can we take out of this slump? 

  1. Retaining the most important pieces of the team. 

Although many have said that it’s been a disappointing transfer window for the Whitecaps, don’t forget about the work the Whitecaps have done to secure the core pieces of this team – one of the most important aspects to the rebuilding season. Securing new deals with Maxime Crépeau and Ali Adnan were huge moves, as those two players have been the light in the darkness for the Whitecaps this season so far. Canadian international Crépeau has come up huge on countless occasions Between the Sticks for the Whitecaps, and has won the hearts of the fans this season. Adnan was here on a 6 month loan initially, but he captured the hearts of the fans as well, with his defending and attacking at left back being miles above what Whitecaps fans have ever seen before from that position.   

Maxime Crépeau and Marc Dos Santos were in talks over the summer about a new contract for the goalkeeper. (Keveren Guillou)

      2. Theo Bair

19 year old prospect Theo Bair has gotten the chance to see some more minutes on the pitch due to underwhelming performances as of late from the other attackers on the squad, and he has taken his chance quite well. Many were skeptical that Bair was simply a big frame up front and didn’t have much finishing ability, but from the display of just a few matches, it’s obvious that the young lad has a knack for being in the right areas at the right time – which is an unteachable skill which every top striker must possess. He got into some very good positions, but unfortunately had some bad luck in terms of finishing chances away. His misses in the past couple matches were made up for by an absolute golazo against Portland, which will be sure to have fans wanting to have him see more minutes in matches to come. 

Theo Bair has been a bright spot for the ‘Caps as of late. (Bryan Woodward)

3. Good Riddance

The Whitecaps also got rid of a few players as of late. Two Brazilians made way – Felipe Martins and Lucas Venuto. The riddance of Felipe was a sigh of relief for a lot of fans. He was given a real chance this season after what people thought was not much of a chance under Carl Robinson last season, and the ‘Caps decided that Felipe was just not the right piece of the puzzle for the Whitecaps. Lucas Venuto performed decently as an outside midfielder for the ‘Caps, but he ultimately didn’t add as much to this Whitecaps team as they would have wanted, so letting him go will free up space and money for new players – something that fans won’t mind at all. 

4. New Signings

New Whitecaps signings Tosaint Ricketts and Michaell Chirinos are exciting additions for the Whitecaps. They are both forwards with promising backgrounds and player profiles. Even if they can’t turn the boat around for the Whitecaps for this season, having some new guys in the squad before the season is over is great for them to get familiar with the team’s playing style and philosophy. We are yet to know how they will fit in with the team, but hopefully the two new signings will be key to the Whitecaps going forward. 

‘Caps new signing Tosaint Ricketts. (Keveren Guillou)

It can be tough to look on the bright side of things through tough times, but being able to do so is an important skill worth utilizing.

The Whitecaps face Felipe and DC United on Saturday night at BC Place. Tune in to see if they can get some traction and start to get into some kind of form before the end of the season, and be sure to check out our pre-match article before the match!