Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini is backing goalkeeper Thomas Hasal to step up and take the opportunity to play following the sale of Maxime Crepeau.
Crepeau has arguably been one of the best goalkeepers in MLS over the past few years but was traded to LAFC last week in exchange for $1m in General Allocation Money (GAM) - a league record in his position.
Theat departure leaves a hole to fill. Just last season, Crepeau averaged 3.6 saves per 90 minutes - the fifth-highest of any MLS goalkeeper with 15 or more appearances. But while Sartini is worried about the loss of Crepeau's leadership, he has no problem with Hasal stepping into the No.1 role.
“Someone needs to step up, and in soccer as in any other industry, we need to adapt to the situation, and the group will adapt to the situation,” Sartini said (via the Vancouver Sun).
He continued: “This thing of selling Maxime is something that can bring a little sense of unbalance in the team. He’s a player that was very important, but at the same moment, every…problem... presents an opportunity. Thomas is someone that is very good, he deserves to play and I’m actually excited that he’s going to have the possibility to show himself.
“The last point for me is about the leadership. It’s a season where we lost Maxime, we lost Andy [Rose], those were two of the most experienced guys, and we have a very young team. There’s a lot of guys that are 22, 23 years old, 21. But we say every time that the group is the leader.”
To date, Hasal has 17 senior appearances under his belt for the Whitecaps, keeping four clean sheets, and has been capped five times for Canada at youth international level.