Frustrated with the season, the Whitecaps saw the need for minor changes but not an overhaul

Frustrated with the season, the Whitecaps saw the need for minor changes but not an overhaul

Missing the playoffs was a disappointment for the Vancouver Whitecaps but it doesn’t mean the club needs a major overhaul during the offseason, Axel Schuster, Major League Soccer’s director of team sports, said Wednesday.

“Everything is on the table,” Schuster said at the season-ending news conference. “That doesn’t mean everything has to change.

“If you play in this league, you want to go to the playoffs. We lost them. Our job is to look at the many details of how it happened. Not looking for any excuses, but we have to look at the details that what happened

Vancouver missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, finishing ninth in the MLS Western Conference with a 12-15-7 record. Their 43 points left the Whitecaps four behind Real Salt Lake for the seventh and final playoff spot.

It’s been a roller coaster of a season for the Whitecaps. They started the year 1-6-1 and sat at the bottom of the table after their first eight games.

Vancouver turned things around by scoring 39 points in 26 games — the second-most of any team in the Western Conference — and winning the Canadian championship.

The Planets aligned for a long time and Vancouver went into the final game of the season needing to win to punch a ticket to the playoffs but lost 2-0 to Minnesota on the road.

“There are definitely a few things we need to improve on,” Schuster said. “We have to do better next season.”

Head coach Vinny Sartini said he learned some important lessons in his first full season.

Sartini believes he can make quick adjustments to improve the team in the first eight games of the season. He also tried not to let his emotions influence his decisions.

“I’m a very emotional person,” Sartini said. “When things go wrong you need to be very strong in your beliefs and try to act more purposefully rather than emotionally.”

Schuster said several factors contributed to the Wet Caps’ slow start. The team’s training camp was affected by the COVID-19 restrictions, limiting the exhibition games that the Whitecaps could play.

The players were also plagued by injuries at the start of the season.

This year the Whitecaps plan to hold part of their training camp in Europe then attend a tournament in Palm Springs, Calif., where they will play other MLS teams, Schuster said.

The team also checks their travel arrangements. Four times last year, the Whitecaps flew to cities two days in advance, thinking it would help players adjust to different time zones. They lost all four games.

“Everything is on the table,” Schuster said. “How do we help athletes perform better. There are many areas we can do, the performance side, the physical side, the medical side.

On the personnel front, the Whitecaps have picked up options on players such as midfielders Sebastian Berhalter and Ryan Raposo, goaltender Isaac Boehmer and defender Julian Gressel. They remain in talks with defenseman Florian Jungwirth, who is eligible for free agency.

The future of striker Lucas Cavalli is in question. Schuster said the team remains in talks with the Canadian-born designated player, who earned $1.4 million last season. The Whitecaps have his option.

“We have to get everyone on the same page,” he said. “What is his role? What we see as a role for him and what he expects for his role.

“It has to do with a lot of other things. What kind of system do we play? What other players do we have? What signings do we expect?

Cavolini, who joined the team in December 2019 after the Whitecaps paid a club-record transfer fee of around $6 million to Liga Mex club Puebla, led the team with nine goals and was second with 53 shots. .

He was also suspended for four games later in the season after receiving a red card for stepping on the head of Nashville SC midfielder Alex Mayville in the 53rd minute of a 3-0 loss.

During the season, Cavalli collected nine yellow cards and another red

The Whitecaps have until November 14 to make a decision on Cavolini, along with defender Jack Nirwinski, midfielder Leonard Owusu and forward Toussaint Ricketts.

How the Whitecaps start next season could affect Sartini’s job. He took over the team after Mark dos Santos was fired in late August 2021 and guided Vancouver to a 7-2-5 record and a playoff berth. This earned him a two-year contract.

Schuster signed a four-year contract extension earlier this month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *