Vancouver Whitecaps 2021 Season Preview

by Michael Martinez

We are just a couple weeks out from the start of the new season and I for one am excited for it to finally be here. After just missing out on the MLS postseason last year, the Whitecaps are ready to come out flying and make it in. With the exception of a couple new faces joining, we are returning with mostly the same core players. The ones we’ve brought in are young, hungry, and are excited to prove what they can do. 

If you watched any Whitecaps match, or even read my articles last season,  you would know that we desperately needed some sort of creative outlet in the midfield. It felt that is all I would write about last season. I started to sound like a broken record! Regardless, it was obvious that’s is what we were lacking. The Whitecaps have yet to add that DP #10 despite our calls for one all year. We have added some excellent young prospects like Caicedo and Alexandre (see my previous articles around those two), but we just need that last spot to be complete. 


Image via MLS

Image via MLS

Key Players to Watch:

Lucas Cavallini – Cava was the Whitecaps record signing back in the start of 2020 but did not start off too strong, unlike his time in Mexico. Although, in his last 13 matches, he netted 6 goals and looked dangerous in front of goal. While on international duty this year, he has 4 goals in 2 matches. Let’s hope he can keep that form going into the regular season. 

Deiber Caicedo – Our first Yound DP signing of the summer, Caicedo is the latest alum of the 2019 U-20 World Cup to sign in MLS. A dynamic young winger, the 21-year-old can play on either flank and will add another dimension to Vancouver’s attack. In his time for Deportivo Cali, he netted 7 goals and provided 16 assists across all competitions. He is one I am most excited to watch besides our future DP #10… 

Ali Adnan – Our second DP, Ali has been regarded as one of the league’s best attacking left backs. Over 50 appearances, he has given us 10 assists and has constantly impressed when on the pitch. While he has some competition at left back with Gutierrez, it is his spot to lose. He has shown glimpses of his form from when he was at Udinese, but we’ll see how he does in his third season. 

Erik Godoy – Last but not least, our main man at the back, Erik Godoy. The Argentine has been very strong for the last two seasons, bailing us out more times than not. He is a good leader for the young Veselinovic and I can see the two being a strong partnership for this year. He has the potential to shine so long as we earn some good results. 

Potential Breakout Players: 

Michael Baldisimo – I could not praise this young man enough. He has come into a struggling Whitecaps team and always makes a difference on the pitch. He quickly made a name for himself and became a regular first team player. The 20-year-old homegrown center mid caught the eye with his tremendous passing range and I figure that he should get plenty of games for the Whitecaps (and hopefully Canada?) in 2021.

Derek Cornelius – Another young Canadian who is touted to break out this year. He received a lot of playing time last season due to injuries, 11 to be exact! He is a strong physical presence on the pitch. He is still young and can be a very good competition for Vesel. Eventually I would love to see the two start for us, but that will take some time. 

Arrivals/Departures:

  • Caio Alexandre (Deep-lying Midfielder) – Arrival

  • Deiber Caicedo (Dynamic Wide Winger) – Arrival

  • Bruno Gaspar (Defensive Right Back) – Arrival

  • Fredy Montero (Center Forward/Striker) – Departure

  • David Milinkovic (Wide Midfielder) – Departure

Quick Team Breakdown:

Based on how MDS likes to play and the players we currently have, in theory, this team should be lightning in transition with Caicedo and Dajome down the wings. With Bikel, Alexandre, and Baldisimo distributing the ball, we should be able to see plenty of chances on goal. Then we have Cavallini — not super fast, but always running — going with the two Columbians. With the combination of players uptop and the pin point passers in midfield, the Whitecaps are born to counter. This should be a really exciting season. It all just depends on how MDS lines the team up, we finally get out DP, and if we finally see some consistency. 

Statistically, counter attacking teams give up a lot of chances, and the Whitecaps have truly struggled to cut down the quality of those chances over the past few years. You could chalk it up to the lack of quality in defence, or even the style of coaching. But either way, if you’re conceding a ton of chances, and a lot of them are good chances … yeah, you might be in some trouble. I think with Bruno Gaspar coming and Crepeau coming back, we should have some more stability in the back. We will just have to see how it all goes. 


Predicted 2021 Lineup

Predicted 2021 Lineup

The first match is on Sunday April 18th against Cascadian rivals, the Portland Timbers. The match will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Stay tuned for match updates and for more general news by following me on Twitter @Michael_James32

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