Sounder at Heart: This was always going to be a season of transition for the Whitecaps, given the massive turnover of roster and new head coach. How’s the Marc Dos Santos project been so far?
86 Forever: You’re definitely right, it was huge turnover. But going back to his first interview, MDS told us that “sometimes you have to destroy something to build something new.” There was dead wood on the books in Vancouver, and he and the club made a huge amount of changes. Some have been good, some not so good. The most positive thing I can say right now is that there is this growing identity and understanding in the team of their roles and how they’re expected to play. During the Dallas match we had Brendan McDonough make his MLS debut and he didn’t look out of place at all, even playing in the back line, and I think that’s a huge testament to what Dos Santos’ coaching ability and what he has been able to do in the past eight months since taking over. The biggest thing now is to start turning the league leading eight draws the ‘Caps have into wins as the playoff push hits.
SAH: There’s two former Sounders that seem to be getting a lot of play time with Vancouver these days. How have Andy Rose and Fredy Montero been getting on?
86: Andy Rose is a class act, as you’re well aware, and he’s an adept student of the game. Right now, his size and his understanding of the game has been important as he’s been playing at centre half for the past month while the ‘Caps have ridden some injuries and then coped without the subsequent international tournament absentees. He’s been reliable to say the least. And he’s shown his experience, bringing some calm to the team in big moments. His substitute appearance at home against Portland was unheralded, but I think he did a great job getting the team over the line.
As for Fredy, he’s been efficient with his chances, but one of the biggest problems is the supply hasn’t been good enough for him. The heat maps of the ‘Caps this year are ugly, ugly pictures when looking at how they’re getting into the final third. Still, Montero’s converting his shots into goals at something like a 20 percent clip, which is great, but even that being said, he did miss a couple sitters against Dallas this week that would have definitely changed that game.
SAH: With the Whitecaps coming off short rest, do you expect rotation for this match? If so, how much and what’s your prediction for the starting XI?
86: I definitely expect some rotation, but not a lot because, quite frankly, the ‘Caps are a thin squad, stretched even thinner by the refusal of MLS to observe the FIFA/CONMEBOL/CONCACAF calendar. I’d expect to see something like this on Saturday:
MacMath; Nerwinski, Godoy, Rose, McDonough, Adnan; Felipe, Erice, Hwang; Reyna, Montero