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Preseason

19 January 3:23 pm

Preseason is upon us once again. We are gearing up for a quieter-ish, more spacious, hopefully not rainy February without Dad. Preseason is preceded by off-season, it’s exact opposite. We go from loads of time together to next to none in a matter of days. It starts with physicals and team meetings and quickly goes full force to two-a-days and team trips that are two weeks long. While it’s exhausting for the guys and we see less of our men, it’s still something that I think everybody is ready for. You can only have so much time off before you start feeling antsy. And I don’t have to cook as much in February, so at least there’s a tradeoff.
 
It can be lonely, and long, especially as a newcomer. Last year that was me. In fact, tomorrow will mark one year since our arrival in Vancouver. It’s amazing the difference a year can make. Last year at this time I was packing frantically while getting ready to fly cross country with a 9 month old and a 2 year old. I had no idea what Vancouver would be like, or how it would work out for us. I didn’t know if I would find friends. I was optimistic though, and luckily my intuition proved to be true as Vancouver has treated us well. So thank you, Vancouver, because now this preseason will not be as lonely.
 
It won’t be as lonely due to the friends we’ve made, the church we go to, the other soccer wives who are in the same boat, house projects, Evelyn’s preschool days, the downtown library, apartment neighbors, trips to Whole Foods and walks outside. Some days I fee like my life is super hard and stressful, but then I read that list and realize I probably just complain too much. Our lives have been made full. There are good days and bad days, and there will surely be a mix of both during preseason, but who escapes that reality? What I’m realizing more and more is that contentment and joy are choices, and I can either choose to embrace this preseason and take advantage of all the fullness we’ve been blessed with, or I can choose to wallow that my husband is gone for a handful of days and I might have to take the trash out more. There are worse things.
 
Besides, if preseason goes as quickly as off-season did, it’ll be over in a snap and before I know it I’ll be back to cooking on a regular basis.

Cat Watson
Wifey to 'Caps player, Matt Watson. Mommy to Evelyn and Theo. Cook, maid and laundry lady to the aforementioned parties. Oh, and I take pictures. And blog. (www.catwatson.com.)
 
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17 January 12:54 pm

When it comes to finding players, there is one thing that you can never coach or develop. That my friends, would be speed.  You either have it or you don’t.

So with the fourth and fifth picks in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Martin Rennie and his staff went with Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado. And what did the ‘Caps acquire with these two youngsters? Speed.

And that is exactly what we could use.

So as 'Caps fan Bill Pollard said on our Facebook page, "Show me the Manneh!", or in Erik's case, "Show me the E-Money!"

It's time to make it rain.

A CHANGE OF PACE

Last year when Dane Richards played for us on the wing (especially at home), his speed really helped our possession game. It opened things up for the ‘Caps as teams were wary of the threat of balls over the top. That’s what speed can do for you and what Manneh and Hurtado can give us if they are used on the wings.

But when Richards was out of the lineup, or when he was shutdown, there were numerous times when our ‘Caps simply looked like they had run out of ideas going forward. We did not look like creating any chances on goal and there were few options on the bench to change things.

What these two draft picks give Martin Rennie and his staff are more options, a change of pace. Because of this, the team will ultimately be in a position to be more versatile and less predictable.

THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT

Yes, we are talking about two young players who’s first priority will simply be to establish themselves in their first MLS season, but they could not be in a better place to fulfill their potential.

I feel that one of Rennie’s great strengths as a coach is the way he handles players and how he teaches. Younger players obviously have more to learn, and the most successful ones are more receptive and eager to be taught their trade.

We know that coach Rennie is big on bringing in character players, so you can bet the work has been done on these two young players to make sure they have the desire and work ethic to take their game to the next level. I really feel this is a great fit that is going to provide a lot of excitement and joy for the team and the Vancouver fans.

You need only to look at the job done with Omar Salgado last year by Rennie and his staff. Salgado looked ready to establish himself as a consistent contributor when he started four games in a row before getting injured. Look also at the way they handled Darren Mattocks and Gershon Koffie, who both had stellar seasons.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT?

Now, will Manneh and Hurtado come into the team and do what Mattocks did last year? Well the answer is that they don’t have to.

We already have a number of pieces in place, experienced players, so there can be a patient approach to easing these players into the lineup.

But when they do get on the field, they will get the chance to show that one quality that really frightens defences, that speed that each has in abundance.

I can’t tell you how excited I am with our new additions. We couldn’t ask for more than to bring in young guys with speed that want to make an impression!!!

Remind you of anybody? ;)

16 January 5:15 pm

After sifting through all of the reports at the MLS Player Combine and reading through the various final Mock Drafts, I’m feeling confident that this will be a strong 2013 SuperDraft for our ‘Caps.

‘CAPS SHORT SUPERDRAFT HISTORY

In our first ever MLS SuperDraft in 2011 we had control of our own destiny with the number one pick and we chose Omar Salgado, who I feel would have made a big impact last season had he not got injured.

Last year the consensus was that the top two prospects were Andrew Wenger and Darren Mattocks – who both seemed to be worthy of the top selection. In the end we got Mattocks, and I’m sure like me, you’d likely agree that things turned out for the better for the ‘Caps.

THE PRESENT

This year there is much debate about who should be number one, and where all the players will land in the draft. With this uncertainty, that essentially makes our #5 and #10 picks more valuable.

If we hold on to the picks, there could end up being some very talented players left on the table as teams debate their best course of action, rather than having little thought to do with a surefire selection. Meanwhile, Martin Rennie and company are also fielding a number of trade offers as coaches will be urgent to move up to secure the player they fancy.

That leaves the possibility of making a trade for one or both of our picks that could land us a quality MLS player that fills one of our needs.

NEEDS

In the end, it doesn’t really matter how we acquire a player – whether through our draft picks or through a trade – as long as we get players that can help our team.

Rennie has gone on record as saying that he would like the team to create more chances next year. Vancouver has a solid foundation at the back and for the most part has established itself as a hard team to beat, which is a good formula for success. But the team would benefit by adding a couple more creative players on the wing or in midfield.

SUPERDRAFT FOR A SUPER SEASON

We already have two players from the draft in Omar and Darren who are destined to be important players for this team, and I believe that they will both have even bigger seasons than they had last year.

This year’s Superdraft should see the addition of either another exciting prospect or two coming out of college, or a proven player through a trade helping our team make another run at the playoffs and beyond.

It looks like we’re set up for a successful SuperDraft, and that’s yet another important step towards a successful season.