Friday, Southsider and blogger Michael McColl takes ALL CAPS “Away From
The Numbers” for a fan’s perspective on the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Montreal are certainly not going to be the only Canadian club with an impact in Major League soccer this season.
If anyone out there was in any doubt as to whether the Whitecaps were looking to make big inroads in MLS in 2012, you only have to look at this week’s addition of Sebastien Le Toux to know that they clearly mean business after last season’s failures.
The addition of Le Toux strengthens what was already looking to be a very strong squad for this coming season, and Martin Rennie isn’t finished yet.
Le Toux brings the Caps MLS squad to 26 players. Not much room for a lot more manoeuvring on paper, but this being MLS, a lot can happen between now and ‘First Kick’ on March 10th.
The squad are currently training down at Grande Sports World in Case Grande, Arizona. A place with little to do except train hard, bond as a team and in the case of players like Lee Nguyen, wonder just where that TV in the room could be hiding.
There are five trialists down in Arizona: Irish midfielder Patrick Cregg; Carolina Railhawk midfielder Floyd Franks; El Salvadorian defender Victor Turcios; Maltese striker Etienne Barbara; and the formerly waived Caps defender Bilal Duckett.
It will be interesting to see which, if any, of these players make the grade, especially as a dominating presence in the middle of the park is still Vancouver’s missing piece of the jigsaw right now. Will Cregg and/or Franks fill that gap?
Barbara is still thought to be a given to join the squad, but exactly where the Whitecaps are going to fit in all these attackers, whilst also keeping them happy, is hard to see right now.
Residency prospect Ben Fisk, who can play midfield as well as striker, had a great first week of training camp and certainly impressed Martin Rennie. Although he is not down in Arizona, as Rennie says he knows a lot about him already and wants to take a look at some others, we still tip the local lad to become the fourth Canadian in the Caps’ MLS squad.
There surely has to be some movements made in the striking department in the next few weeks. Whether that be trades or loan deals.
With Camilo signing a new contract this week, the Brazilian should form a front three alongside Eric Hassli and Le Toux.
Barbara, Mattocks and Harris look to be the players to come off the bench and be game changers, along with covering all the extra Champions League games we’ll hopefully be getting and Hassli’s suspensions!
Hard to see just where Omar Salgado and Long Tan will be in the plans. my prediction would be for loan deals, as opposed to trades, but Salgado in particular could be a popular commodity.
We’ll see how all of this will play out in the next few weeks.
Rennie knows exactly what kind of team he is looking to build, how he wants them to play and he has key requirements for players in every single position.
He has already shown that if someone isn’t good enough they will be out the door, as the cutting of deadweight DP Mustapha Jarju clearly showed.
There will be no room for any shirkers on this year’s Caps. If you don’t pull your weight or show the wrong attitude, then don’t expect to be hanging around in Vancouver for too much longer.
He has also put together an excellent backroom team and it really is hard not to get swept up with too much excitement and anticipation of what the Whitecaps will produce this year.
We’ve had false dawns before. This year though, I think Rennie’s Whitecaps will deliver what last season’s team couldn’t.
‘First Kick’ 2012 just can’t come quick enough.
About the author:
McColl began writing about football in 1989 and has freelanced for
various newspapers, magazines and websites in the UK. He moved to
Vancouver in 2007 where he currently pens the “Away From the Numbers” blogs on Canadian Soccer News and contributes to Prost Amerika. Michael is also a member o the North American Soccer Reporters association.
a proud member of the Vancouver Southsiders supporters club, though his
views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the