New Whitecaps FC manager decides to ditch 9 players

Nov 27 2018, 2:51 am

New head coach Marc Dos Santos didn’t waste time putting his stamp on the Vancouver Whitecaps.

That’s to be expected with a new manager taking over an underperforming team, especially one with a self-admitted culture problem.

The Whitecaps announced a number of moves on Monday, revealing a long list of players who won’t be back next season. They’re the first moves of the offseason, but certainly not the last.

The club will not be exercising the options on nine players. Among the notable names leaving town are starting goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, centre back Jose Aja, defensive midfielder Aly Ghazal, and high-priced midfielder Brek Shea.

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Here’s the full list of players whose options were not exercised:

  • Stefan Marinovic (goalkeeper)
  • Spencer Richey (goalkeeper)
  • Jose Aja¬†(defender)
  • Roberto Dominguez¬†(defender)
  • Aaron Maund (defender)
  • Marvin Emnes (midfielder)
  • Aly Ghazal¬†(midfielder)
  • Brek Shea¬†(midfielder)
  • Myer Bevan (striker)

Moving on from Shea was a no-brainer. The lanky American has been a huge disappointment in Vancouver, unable to consistently get into the starting lineup despite carrying the second-highest salary ($745,000) on the team.

Marinovic was a contributing factor to the Whitecaps’ inability to keep the ball out of their net last season, so the team will instead search for a new starting goalkeeper.

“This is the first of many offseason moves for the club as we build our roster for the coming season,” said Dos Santos. “Every decision we made today and will make in the future is based on our model of play, which defines the type of team we want to be. We’ve had to make a number of tough decisions, and we’re thankful to each of the players moving on for their contributions to the club.

“We’re excited about the roster flexibility we have as the process of identifying new targets is well underway.”

Meanwhile, the Whitecaps exercised the 2019 contract options on seven players, including Canadian international Doneil Henry, Peruvian midfielder Yordy Reyna, and longtime Whitecaps Nicolas Mezquida and Erik Hurtado:

  • Sean Melvin (goalkeeper)
  • Doneil Henry (defender)
  • Brett Levis (defender)
  • Nicolas Mezquida (midfielder)
  • David Norman Jr. (midfielder)
  • Yordy Reyna (midfielder)
  • Erik Hurtado (striker)

In addition to those seven players, the Whitecaps have 10 other players who were already under contract for 2019:

  • Marcel de Jong (defender)
  • Jake Nerwinski (defender)
  • Kendall Waston (defender)
  • Michael Baldisimo (midfielder)
  • Simon Colyn (midfielder)
  • Felipe¬†(midfielder)
  • Efrain Juarez¬†(midfielder)
  • Russell Teibert¬†(midfielder)
  • Theo Bair (striker)
  • Anthony Blondell (striker)

The list includes captain Kendall Waston, who has publicly expressed his desire to leave town. The Whitecaps will surely try to move him this winter.

Vancouver has four players who are out of contract – notably longtime Whitecaps midfielder Cristian Techera and leading goal-scorer Kei Kamara:

  • Brian Rowe (goalkeeper)
  • Sean Franklin (defender)
  • Cristian Techera (midfielder)
  • Kei Kamara (striker)

Midfielder Jordon Mutch is no longer Whitecaps property after completing a one-year loan from English Premier League club Crystal Palace FC.

The following 17 Whitecaps FC players are currently under contract for the 2019 season:

Goalkeepers (1): Sean Melvin
Defenders (5): Marcel de Jong, Doneil Henry, Brett Levis, Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston
Midfielders (8): Michael Baldisimo, Simon Colyn, Felipe, Efrain Juarez, Nicolas Mezquida, David Norman Jr., Yordy Reyna, Russell Teibert
Strikers (3): Theo Bair, Anthony Blondell, Erik Hurtado

A half-day trade window will take place on December 9, following the completion of the MLS Cup. An expansion draft will take place on December 11 for MLS’s newest club, FC Cincinnati.

Free agency also begins on December 11, with a waiver draft taking place on December 12.

With lots of holes to fill on their roster, the Whitecaps will be busy.

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