Thanks for the memories
The Headline: Whitecaps FC announced Friday afternoon that they had traded striker/designated player Eric Hassli to Toronto FC.
In return, the ‘Caps receive Toronto FC’s first round selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and an international spot through the 2013 season. Hassli was the ‘Caps best player in their inaugural season, scoring twelve times last season, but has been a sub more often then not this season.
This trade works into the trend that Rennie and co are creating in Vancouver, and I’ll try and cheer you up about losing a fan favorite, with five reasons to love this trade:
1) Two high first round selections
Since receiving the Philadelphia Union’s first round selection in a trade in June, ‘Caps fans have been rooting for Toronto FC to climb out of the basement so Vancouver would select first for the second time in three seasons.
While that doesn’t look like it will happen, there is still cause for optimism.
As of today, Philadelphia has the fourth worst record in Major League Soccer (via goal differential), so as the Whitecaps continue to improve and (hopefully) make the playoffs, they will still be selecting high in the SuperDraft for the next two seasons, with Toronto not showing enough to merit any optimism that they will climb out of the East basement anytime soon.
2) Another big move coming?
It looked as though the Whitecaps had filled their three designated player spots, after Scottish international Kenny Miller signed on Monday, but like always, Martin Rennie had another thing up his sleeve; freeing up a designated player spot with one week left in the mid-season transfer window.
Rennie and the ‘Caps front office could be readying another big move, after bringing in Barry Robson, Kenny Miller and Dane Richards in the past few months. With the Whitecaps gaining a international spot in the deal as well, they could stick with the trend they’ve created this month, making big deals.
3) Pricey bench player
The Whitecaps front office saves a lot of money in this trade, as Hassli was one of the team’s designated players, and was getting paid as one despite being a substitute who came on late in games for the majority of the season.
Even if Rennie doesn’t make another move this week, it opens up a spot to make a move in the off season.
4) No more putting the team in bad positions
Last season, Eric Hassli seemed to be a target amongst MLS referees, frequently getting carded for silly mistakes, albeit a few times it was simply adjusting to the North American game.
He picked up eight yellow cards, as well as three red cards in his debut season for the Whitecaps. This season, despite only starting eight games, Hassli has picked up six yellow cards.
Too many times in the past two season’s, he has come on late and seemed too excited, being too aggressive and the referees going straight to a yellow without warning.
5) More playing time for the youngsters
On May 9th, Etienne Barbara came on as a substitute against FC Edmonton, making his competitive debut, and made an immediate impact.
In the 87th minute, two minutes after coming on for Camilo, the Maltese international drew a penalty and subsequently took it himself, hitting the post after a deflection by the Edmonton keeper.
Since that match, where he gained momentum back for a fatigued Vancouver squad, he has seen the field once, for eleven minutes as a sub against New England.
Former Whitecap Long Tan was in the same situation, which led the disgruntled forward to take to twitter to voice his displeasure. I believe sometimes Rennie felt inclined to put Hassli in the game due to his hefty price tag, even if he is not the right fit, and taking away valuable playing time from the younger players.
With Hassli gone now, we can see more from players like Barbara and Omar Salgado when he returns from injury.
Thanks for the memories Eric. Thanks for this classic. I’m sure all Whitecap fans will remember this moment: