Skip to content

Vancouver Whitecaps 2024 MLS season preview

We’re taking you through Vancouver’s offseason action, hopes, fears, tactics & much more.

6 min read

Where we left off last year

2023 season: 48 points, 6th in the Western Conference

An inability to defend on set pieces in their first round playoff series against LAFC ended what was an otherwise encouraging year for the Whitecaps. With Ryan Gauld and Brian White leading the attack and Andres Cubas cleaning things up at the base of midfield, a strong spine helped Vancouver finish with the sixth-best expected goal differential in all of MLS in 2023, according to FBref. 

Trading Juilan Gressel to the Columbus Crew over the summer cut down on their versatility in the final third and a lack of focus in big moments cut their season short.

Still, the Whitecaps were clearly one of the best teams in the West… at least in open play.

What changed in the offseason

Notable arrivals:

  • Damir Kreilach, ST: At his peak with Real Salt Lake, Kreilach was a top attacking option in this league. Now it’s been two full years (and a back surgery) since the 34-year-old put together anything close to a successful year. Manager Vanni Sartini clearly likes him, though. Kreilach started both of Vancouver's Concacaf Champions Cup games against Tigres earlier this month. His skill is undeniable, but will Kreilach be fit enough to play a key role this year?
  • Fafa Picault, W: Picault scored five goals with Nashville last season and will bring at least some production with him to Canada. His ability to stretch the field and get in behind the opposing backline is valuable, but will also likely fade as he turns 33 this season. Picault has mostly been a winger and would fit as a reserve attacking option in Vancouver. But maybe he’s the new right wingback with Richie Laryea gone?
  • Bjorn Inge Utvik, CB: Utvik, 27, should add depth to the middle of Vanni Martini’s backline. The right-footed defender has spent his entire career in Norway, which could signal a slower start to life in MLS as the Norwegian adjusts to the speed of play in a higher-quality league. Utvikisn’t physically imposing, but likes to be aggressive on set pieces and in defense.

This post is for paid subscribers


Already have an account? Log in