Vancouver Whitecaps: Does the captain matter?

With the Whitecaps still to announce who will replace Pedro Morales as the team captain it at least begs the question of whether it’s at all relevant who is in possession of the armband.

As is so often the case around here the answer to that question is “it depends” because context is everything.

There are some teams where it really doesn’t matter.

Make any player captain of the current Juventus or Chelsea squads for example and it won`t make a difference because they are both experienced, well-balanced squads with clear ideas about what thy are expected to do on the field.

But the Whitecaps didn’t fit that description in 2016 and they likely won’t in 2017 either so who Carl Robinson chooses for the role actually will matter. Not least because of the slightly bizarre behaviour we’ve seen from Morales himself on social media recently.

It’s hard not to conclude that Pedro was a destabilizing presence last year and that, at the very least, a small number of players will have lost respect for him.

That loss of respect may even have seeped through to the coach who selected him and you can bet the players will be a little more interested in who is chosen than would normally be the case.

Will Robinson once again opt for simply naming the highest paid player as team captain? That seems unlikely given that Fredy Montero has only just arrived at the club which leaves the coach with a far more interesting decision.

In his ideal world he would probably have named David Edgar to the position; experienced, vocal and not at the club long enough to have fallen into one clique or another.

But Edgar’s long-term injury takes that option off the table, so the choice will now have to be made from one of last season’s regular starters with Harvey, Waston and Ousted being the most obvious contenders.

There are issues with each one though.

Ousted’s public spat with Pedro must have put a few noses out of place among friends of the latter. So selecting Ousted would put Robinson firmly on one side of the camp and risk exacerbating the tensions of last year.

Waston’s disciplinary record doesn’t bode well in a potential captain and furthermore if any player needed to focus solely on their own play this year then that player would be Waston.

That leaves Jordan Harvey who has the positives of being likeable and honest in post game interviews (something that the language barrier made it impossible for Morales to do) but the negatives are largely that he isn’t the most vocal of players on the pitch.

Tries his heart out sure, can organize a defence definitely, but probably not an imposing enough figure to take control of the whole team.

Still, his work rate would at least be a good example to the rest and given the somewhat limited other options available to him Robinson may have to conclude that if his captain isn’t going to be a transformative figure on the field he can at least pick the player who would do the least harm.

That looks to be Jordan Harvey.

 

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