Ahead of today's game where D.C. United hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps, we spoke with Bartosz Wysocki, from the Whitecaps' SB Nation home Eighty Six Forever, for some quick thoughts about the 'Caps so far this year:
Black and Red United: We know that Pedro Morales and Matias Laba didn't make the trip, and we assume that DCU alum Andrew Jacobson will probably occupy one of those spots in central midfield. Who has the inside track on that other position?
86 Forever: Losing two key cogs in the centre of the park is going to be difficult for the Whitecaps to adjust to, but I believe the pieces are there to keep us competitive. Your guess of Jacobson in midfield is almost certainly going to be correct, barring any last second insanity. Outside of that, Nicolas Mezquida is probably the best bet to be the player manning the middle of the park. He's got quite a bit of experience playing with the Caps, and while he's no Morales, he without a doubt has the individual skill to help Vancouver play its quick, counterattacking game.
B&RU: Blas Perez was leaving MLS in December and even wrote a farewell message to FC Dallas fans. What on Earth does Carl Robinson want with a 35 year-old forward?
86F: Whenever any coach signs someone north of thirty, it is bound to make most fans cringe, especially in an era where MLS teams are trying to lose the image that it's a retirement league. However, I think (read: hope) that Blas Perez will be a good signing for the Caps. Last season Carl Robinson's major problem was getting balls in the back of the net, and a major part of this was that most of our forwards were young and inexperienced. By adding a veteran who has played over 100 games in the MLS, Robinson is probably banking on Perez strengthening the other forwards, like Octavio Riveiro and Kekuta Manneh.
Blas Perez won't only be a mentoring figure for Vancouver though. He does have a long track record of success in front of the net, and even if he doesn't score he'll always find a way to make life hell for the other team.
B&RU: Tim Parker was one of those who looked good (or not bad) for the US U23s last month. We know Kendall Waston's presence in back, but how has Parker's performance at the club level been since taking over for Pa Modou Kau last August?
86F: Parker has definitely grown a lot under the tutelage of Carl Robinson over the past half year. Ever since he took Kah's spot, he has deservedly established himself as a starter. In the air he has taken a page from Kendall Waston's book and become dominant with headers, and on the ground his tackling has been for the most part solid. Though he has yet to score a league goal, he has gotten a headed goal in the CCL, showing that he is capable of finishing. While he's not at the level of his partner Waston, he has shown that he can hold his own on the field, and be a positive presence for the team.
Any predictions on a score? 1-0 Whitecaps. Vancouver get their first goal from open play this season, and their defense holds on for the shutout victory.
VWFC Predicted Starting XI: David Ousted; Jordan Harvey, Waston, Parker, Frasier Aird; Christian Bolanos, Jacobson, Mezquida, Cristian Techera; Riveiro, Perez
For the questions that we got asked, check out Eighty Six Forever's post here.