VANCOUVER, BC – Marc Dos Santos had two priorities for Sunday’s MLS half-day trade window.
The new Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach wanted a pair of goalkeepers with a “chip on their shoulder” to compete for the starting position, and he wanted to start filling the cupboards with team-first players who fit the identity he’s determined to establish in Vancouver.
Dos Santos and the ‘Caps made a total of five transactions during the trade window, acquiring goalkeepers Zac MacMath and Max Crepeau, left back/winger Victor “PC” Giro, and midfielder Andy Rose.
“They’re hungry, they want to prove something, they want to change something in a club,” Dos Santos said. “They have an incredible mentality and team spirit and they’re guys that want to fight. All four players have that in common.”
The similarities don’t end there.
The roster build is underway.— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) December 10, 2018
MDS discusses the acquisitions of goalkeepers Maxime Crépeau and Zac MacMath, left back/winger Victor “PC” Giro, and midfielder Andy Rose.#VWFC pic.twitter.com/aymcdCxi04
MacMath, Crepeau, PC, and Rose all have MLS experience, they’re in their 20s, and they’re considered domestic players in MLS, which will provide additional flexibility in the process of building the roster. Clearly, there was a certain profile Dos Santos had in mind – and he feels each player fits the bill.
In MacMath, Dos Santos feels the ‘Caps have landed a player who is on the verge of cementing his status as a bonafide number one goalkeeper in MLS. And it doesn’t hurt that he already has 150 matches under his belt in all competitions with Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union.
“He’s courageous in his goal, he’s good with his feet, and he’s very hungry to win a position in MLS and prove that he can be a number one,” Dos Santos said.
It’s a similar story with Crepeau – a 24-year-old Canadian international who was named the 2018 USL Goalkeeper of the Year as a member of Ottawa Fury FC.
“For his age, for where he’s been, from a very young age what he’s had to face, we feel that the margin of progression for him is so high,” Dos Santos said. “We see him as a goalkeeper with an incredible level of potential, and someone who can fight to be a number one.”
In PC, Dos Santos sees a player with all the tools to be successful in his model of play, which requires aggressiveness and high-intensity runs from the fullbacks.
“He’s good technically, he’s aggressive, he’s fast, and he has a lot of culture in his game,” said Dos Santos, who first watched PC play in 2012 when he was coaching in Brazil. “We believe in the qualities he has. And sometimes a player just needs a new environment. He’s so thankful for being here. He wants to be here.”
And finally, Dos Santos said Rose is an experienced and versatile midfielder who will always put the team first and show up with the right mentality day in, and day out.
“He can play everywhere in the midfield,” Dos Santos said. “You need to have two or three guys like that on your roster. The reality of the league, with trips, injuries, things that are unexpected, you need a couple guys you can move around. Thinking about the culture, the team, the spirit we want to create, Andy is a great team guy who is going to show up every day. He’s always going to be available for what we need.”
Dos Santos knows there’s still a lot of work to be done to build the roster for 2019.
There will be further opportunities this week with the opening of MLS Free Agency, the Waiver Draft, and the Re-Entry Process – not to mention the international transfer market, which is an avenue Dos Santos and the ‘Caps are very much evaluating as well.
“When you’re building a roster, sometimes it takes more time to go after the marquee players,” Dos Santos said. “But we feel in the moments that it’s going to get gritty and important, these types of players are going to help us get points.”