Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all The Blue Testament readers from everyone here at TBT. With the year officially in that lull between Christmas and New Years, nothing is about to be announced any time soon so we thought we’d ask for Santa Vermes to put a few gifts under our tree for 2020.
A Roger Espinoza Replacement
With the huge present of Alan Pulido already having been opened, we don’t want to come across as greedy, but we need more. Peter Vermes promised an “Injection of Capital” in 2019-20. Pulido is most definitely part of that but PV also stated he’d add talent to all three lines. One assumes that center back Roberto Puncec was the addition to the back line (though a backup left back is still a need).
Pulido and Khiry Shelton were already added to the front.
That just leaves the midfield. The team is obviously set wherever they choose to line up Felipe Gutierrez. He can play all three midfield spots (and probably will). If he starts over Ilie Sanchez then Roger Espinoza and Gianluca Busio can start ahead of him. Even if it’s Ilie, Busio and Guti, Busio is probably not ready to play 34 games. Also, Espinoza is already 33-years-old. He can’t play every day and definitely can’t play two to three times in a week like he’s been asked to do before.
The biggest need is a long-term replacement for him. It’s possible that is Felipe Hernandez. The 21-year-old was signed late in the season and has shown promise with the Swope Park Rangers. But the team has a rapidly closing (closed??) window to win with their current talent. Hernandez may be more for a year or two from now.
If the team moves on from Andreu Fontas by buying out his contract, I’m open to the next addition needing to be another CB still too. But I’ll limit myself to a midfielder for now.
Go add that midfield signing Peter!
Safe Standing in the Cauldron
For years fans and pundits asked for an expanded stadium but it’s become clear that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. The massive sellout streak came to an end at 125 games in 2019. And even though attendance was only down slightly, the seats looked kind of empty at times.
An easier upgrade that can be done is a safe standing area in The Cauldron. Most people stand in The Cauldron for 90 minutes anyways, might as well make it more conducive. The New York Red Bulls just announced they are making the change. The LA Galaxy are doing the same. Los Angeles Football Club, Minnesota United, Orlando City and San Jose Earthquakes already have these spaces. Plus Austin FC, FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew SC are adding it in their new stadiums. Even the dinosaur known as D.C. United are looking into it.
It would probably need to already be under way to be ready in time for the start of 2020 which is just around the corner, but it’s something that could be worked on with the Supporters Groups and installed after the 2020 season.
I would say we don’t care which one, but MLS Cup sure sounds nice. After an abysmal 2019, anything is welcome though. A US Open Cup is the easiest one to win, though Sporting KC’s path is a bit tougher in 2020.
The Supporters Shield is worth less than ever since teams will not even play three teams from the opposite conference (and the schedule is already unbalanced). In 2020 that’ll be D.C. United, the New York Red Bulls and Inter Miami CF for SKC. If they were to finish second to any of those teams (while it would still be great) it would sting extra hard knowing they didn’t get a chance to face that team.
All-in-all, a return to prominence is what is needed. After winning the Western Conference in 2018 and then falling all the way to 11th in 2019, the first step is just to make the playoffs. After that, anything can happen.