Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
PREVIEW: 'Caps hand the reins to rookie Robinson
by Ridge Mahoney, March 6th, 2014 12:37AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, vancouver whitecaps

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS 2014: Western Conference] You couldn’t blame Vancouver fans if they felt 2013 was cursed.

Stalwart captain Jay DeMerit suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon six minutes into the opening game and didn’t return until September. Japanese midfielder Daigo Kobayashiarrived billed as a playmaker, and simply wasn’t. TheKenny Miller conundrum – good games, poor games, what’s his best position? -- continued. A weak finish dumped Vancouver out of the playoff tier, and management waited a while before replacing head coach Martin Rennie.

2013 Vancouver Whitecaps
Record:13-12-9.
Finish:7th in Western Conf.
Playoffs:did not qualify.

Then came in December Mexican news reports that claimed Camilo, the league’s top scorer with 22 goals, had bolted from his contract and signed with Mexican club Queretaro. Team presidentBob Lenarduzzi reminded everyone Camilo was still under contract to MLS, but Camilo, his agent, and Queretaro cared not. Weeks of talks led to a transfer; MLS and the ‘Caps got about $2 million to share, but not even all that money could eradicate the stench.

And so Carl Robinson starts off his head coaching career in search of stability and continuity as much as results. Kobayashi signed with New England after the ‘Caps declined his option. The midseason arrival of Danish keeper David Ousted -- thankfully, he wasn’t billed as the next Jimmy Nielsen -- moved Brad Knighton to the bench and Joe Cannon off the screen. Knighton went to New England in a trade and Cannon retired, as did popular right back Lee Young-Pyo. Counting Camilo’s breach of professional etiquette, 11 players departed.

Robinson worked his international contacts and knowledge of MLS to restock. He vowed to upgrade the technical quality and leading the charge in that regard is Chilean playmaker Pedro Morales, who signed his contract earlier this week and trained for the first time on Wednesday. He can’t play until the league receives his international transfer certificate (ITC) but during two seasons with Malaga showed he could hang pretty well in Spain.
Uruguayan midfielders Sebastian Fernandezand Nicolas Mezquida showed skill and poise during preseason. Defensive mid Matias Laba is clean on the ball and at 22 among the top prospects in MLS who didn’t get much opportunity to show his stuff at Toronto FC.

Ex-Quake and 2012 MLS all-star Steven Beitashourcame over in a trade after a futile attempt to find a foreign club. In a different way, he gets into the attack as did Lee and since breaking into the first team with the Quakes in 2010 has logged 16 assists in 87 games. Another former Quake, Mehdi Ballouchy, brings a nice touch and seven years of MLS experience though an ACL injury limited him to five games last year.

Western Conference Preview:
Chivas USA | Colorado | FC Dallas| LA Galaxy
Portland | Real Salt Lake | San Jose | Seattle

WHY BE OPTIMISTIC?Robinson is a rookie head coach, but two years as a Red Bull assistant following several MLS seasons as a player provides at least a solid grounding in the ways and means of MLS. DeMerit’s return is a huge boost on the field and in the locker room and though he’s 34, he finished last season strongly. Adding more flair to midfield should alleviate the stodginess that plagued the attack last year and giveRussell Teibert, who registered a team-high nine assists, more choices for linkups and one-twos. Kekuta Manneh, 19, kick-started his career with a late-season hat trick that sparked great optimism about his future. Defender Christian Dean, the No. 3 overall pick in the SuperDraft, looked strong in preseason.

WHY BE PESSIMISTIC? Thirteen games in his first MLS season wasn’t enough to fully evaluate Ousted; a solid season from him is essential with changes in so many important areas. There are a lot of pieces to sort out in midfield, where Nigel Reo-Coker and Gershon Koffie both need consistent time to maximize their effectiveness. Darren Mattocks enters his third pro season needing sharp improvement to justify his selection as the No. 2 overall pick in 2012. Making up Camilo’s 22 goals is a tall order.

PROJECTED FINISH: 6th-7th place.Robinson and the additions will probably need a season to ramp up, and the conference doesn’t make concessions for newbies.

PROJECTED LINEUP: 4-4-2
Goalkeeper:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
1-David Ousted (29)/Denmark (2nd season)

Defenders:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
33-Steven Beitashour(27)/Iran (San Jose Earthquakes)
6-Jay DeMerit(34)/USA (4th season)
40-Andy O'Brien (34)/Ireland (3rd season)
2-Jordan Harvey(30)/USA (4th season)

Midfielders:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
20-Nigel Reo-Coker (29)/England (2nd season)
15-Matias Laba (22)/Argentina (Toronto FC)
77-Pedro Morales (28)/Chile (Malaga)
29-Nicolas Mezquida (23)/Uruguay (Fenix)
7-Sebastian Fernandez (24)/Uruguay (Universitario)

Forwards:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
9-Kenny Miller(34)/Scotland (3rd season)

First off the bench:
NO. PLAYER (AGE)/COUNTRY
28-Gershon Koffie (22)/Ghana (4th season)
23-Kekuta Manneh (19)/Gambia (2nd season)
11-Darren Mattocks (23)/Jamaica (3rd season)
31-Russell Teibert (21)/Canada (4th season)
Vancouver Whitecaps: complete roster.

Note:
returning players in bold.

MARCH SCHEDULE:
March 8:New York, 7:30 pm ET
March 16:
at Chivas USA, 7 pm ET
March 22:
at New England, 2 pm ET
March 29:Houston 7, pm ET
Vancouver Whitecaps: complete schedule.








No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Week 20: Results & Standings    
FC Dallas remained first in the MLS Supporters' Shield race, three points ahead of the Colorado ...
USA-Costa Rica: Olympic tuneups end with easy win    
The USA closed out its preparations for the Olympic women's soccer tournament on Friday when it ...
Video Pick: Golazo by Dortmund's Dembele vs. Manchester United    
Why did Borussia Dortmund spend a reported $15 million to get 19-year-old Ousmane Dembele from French ...
Arsenal names roster for U.S. trip    
Arsenal's preliminary list of players who will travel to the United States includes American midfielder Gedion ...
What They're Saying: Axel Sjoberg    
"I don't think I have to sell myself to Dominic Kinnear. He picked the team and ...
USA-Costa Rica: Scorcher expected for final Rio tuneup    
The USA plays its last game before it heads off to the Rio Olympics when it ...
MLS Countdown: Marsch comments roil waters for derby    
Three times a year comes the question: will New York be red or blue? The Hudson ...
Crowd Count: FC Cincinnati sets another USL record    
FC Cincinnati set a USL single-season attendance record when it drew 16,127 fans Wednesday at Nippert ...
MLS Countdown: Quakes duo has red cards rescinded    
The San Jose Earthquakes will have their Panamaniacs available for a game at Real Salt Lake ...
MLS Moves: Orlando bolsters backline with Aja signing    
The first player signed by Orlando City after the hiring of head coach Jason Kreis has ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives