2023 Season Previews: Vancouver Whitecaps
Welcome to the thirteenth Season Preview of the 2023 MLS season! We are continuing this journey with Canada's representative for Concacaf Champions League, Vancouver Whitecaps. A major change up top seems to be almost across the finish line for this club. For those of you who are new to MLS Now's work, thanks for reading today and check out all of what our podcast and blog site has to offer. Let's get into it below.
Record: 12-7-15 (43 points/9th in West)
Team Leader Goals: Lucas Cavallini 9, Ryan Gauld 8, Tosaint Ricketts/Brian White 4
Team Leader Assists: Ryan Gauld 9, Cristian Dajome 4, Luis Martins/Ryan Raposo 3
Manager: Vanni Sartini (3rd season)
Additions: *CF Sergio Cordova ($2 million transfer from FC Augsburg/25 years old), *GK Yohei Takaoka (transfer from Yokohama Marinos/26 years old), CB Mathias Laborda (free from Club Nacional/23 years old), CB Karifa Yao (MLS Re-Entry Draft from CF Montreal/22 years old)
Subtractions: CF Lucas Cavallini (free to Club Tijuana/30 years old), CB Florian Jungwirth (retired/34 years old), CF Tosaint Ricketts (retired/35 years old), RB Jake Nerwinski (free to St. Louis City SC/28 years old), CM Michael Baldisimo (MLS Re-Entry Draft to San Jose Earthquakes/22 years old), CB Derek Cornelius ($500k transfer to Malmo FF/25 years old), CB Erik Godoy (free agent/28 years old), RB Marcus Godinho (free to Korona Kielce/25 years old), CM Leonard Owusu (free agent/25 years old), GK Cody Cropper (free agent/29 years old)
Designated Players: CAM Ryan Gauld, CM Andres Cuba, *CF Sergio Cordova
*not officially finalized, talks in final stages
Projected Starting XI
Manager Vanni Sartini seems to be rolling out a 4-3-2-1 formation for the Whitecaps this preseason. A midfield trio of Andres Cubas, Alessandro Schopf, and Julian Gressel is something I think is cemented to start the season. Ranko Veselinovic and Tristan Blackmon look to be the pairing in the back as well. I assume Yohei Takaoka is being signed to be the starter over Thomas Hasal immediately, but if the visa process takes too long he will be the starter week 1 against Real Salt Lake. The outside backs are question marks: Luis Martins and Cristian Gutierrez will be battling for the left flank. Seeing that Martins has more preseason minutes, I'll give him the nod. The social media team has been hyping up Ryan Raposo moving from wing to right back, I believe it's his job to lose for the start of the season. Brian White has started in preseason, so I think he will until new designated player Sergio Cordova is ready and prepared with the team... I could see them bring him in around the 60th minute against his former club week 1 to seek revenge. Ryan Gauld is quality and him paired with either Pedro Vite or Cristian Dajome should be effective. I am curious to see how Vancouver progresses this season. I think a lot of it will depend if Cordova can be a 15+ goal scorer in this new system.
Thanks for viewing our thirteenth 2023 season preview. There will be a new one out about every single day leading up to MLS kickoff. If you are a passionate fan looking to write about your club, we are actively seeking contributors for MLS clubs this season. If interested, message us on either Twitter or Instagram @MLSNowPodcast. We want to provide an outlet for fans to discuss their club on the site and also guest star on the podcast throughout the season.