The Vancouver Whitecaps trades during the recent signing window may not have set the pulses of fans throbbing like a badly maintained air conditioning unit in an oven factory* but they do at least address one obvious issue as well as one other issue that may have been less obvious but could turn out to be even more of a game changer.
We all knew that the over reliance on having both Kendall Waston and Tim Parker on the field at all times was a weak link for the side and the arrival of Aaron Maund from Real Salt Lake addresses that to a significant degree.
Maund is a natural central defender (which Andrew Jacobson isn’t) and has genuine MLS experience (which Christian Dean didn’t) and while it’s highly unlikely that Maund will be a regular starter his presence does at least give Carl Robinson some leeway if something should go awry with either of his two main men.
It also means that the coach has the option of switching to three at the back if he so chooses. That would be an out of character move for Robinson, but no so out of character that it’s impossible.
There can’t be many of us though who thought that what the Whitecaps really needed was another defensive midfielder and while there also can’t be many of us who can give genuine insight into how good Aly Ghazal actually is his CV suggests that he should be an upgrade on those who are already here.
On paper, and based on extensive viewing of You Tube clips, Ghazal poses the biggest threat to Matias Laba given that he seems to be able to both tackle and pass the ball rather than just tackle.
Laba has been a huge player for Vancouver during his time here and there’s a decent argument to say that when he is on form the Whitecaps are on form, but MLS is moving on and one trick ponies will soon be getting less and less saddle time and more and more pasture time.
That doesn’t mean we’ve approached the end of the Laba era in Vancouver, but we may well be at the beginning of the end of that particular time period.
And if the arrival of Ghazal means anything else to anybody it surely means the time has come for Russell Teibert to make a move.
Like Dean he has reached a plateau at the club that can only really be raised by a new challenge elsewhere because his meagre playing time here just took yet another hit.
Overall the Whitecaps now appear stacked in every position apart from the lone striker role meaning that Fredy Montero’s fitness and form becomes the most critical bellweather of success and failure going forward.
But a decent transfer window in the end for the club I think (but don’t plan the parade route just yet).
*Yes I know that oven factories are not actually any warmer than any other kind of factory. It’s call artistic licence!