MLS Round-up: It's all going White for the Caps
The Vancouver Whitecaps’ recent 3-0 loss to LA Galaxy was a major blip in what has been a magnificent start to only their second season in the MLS, with the Southsiders currently boasting a 7-5-4 record and sitting pretty in third in the Eastern Conference.
Martin Rennie’s team have been the surprise package, especially since the club finished a woeful second from bottom in their inaugural season and the majority of their pre-season drafts coming from clubs in the NASL. Striker Darren Mattocks, signed from the University of Ohio’s Akron Zips, has been the standout revelation, netting three times in six starts and impressing with his powerful hold-up play, acceleration and ability to anticipate chances.
Mattocks is just one of a handful of ‘Caps players who’ve successfully made the transition from the lower leagues to MLS, another being defender Martin Bonjour. The Argentinian was playing in Uruguay’s Primera Division, having had spells with Poland’s Lech Poznan and Olimpo in his native Argentina, when Rennie plucked him from obscurity to marshal the ‘Caps backline.
The elegant centre-back has led by example with his outstanding composure and ability to pop-up with the odd goal, as witnessed by his spectacular strike in the 1-1 draw with the Red Bulls. When mentioning obscurity one can look no further than Jun Marques Davidson, a no-nonsense libero signed from Japan’s Tokoshima Vortis, a second tier club. Davidson has done the majority of the grunt work sitting in front of Bonjour and Captain Jay DeMerit and stood out by not standing out, as baffling as that may seem.
Scotsman Rennie’s fine blend of experience and youth has been balanced with the big name acquisition of South Korean World Cup star Lee-Young Pyo. The 34-year-old former Tottenham left-back has appeared steady and offered a calming influence on the pitch, contributing with a spectacular goal in the 1-0 win over Columbus Crew. Along with the influence of Pyo, Rennie has brought the best out of teenager Omar Salgado, with the Mexican excelling in a left wing role, with goalkeeper Joe Cannon in fine form and playmakers Camilo Sanvezzo and Davide Chumiento coming into their own behind the strikers.
If Rennie can get bustling forward Eric Hassli firing on all cylinders again, and be justified in his signing of Sebastien Le Toux (who has largely been disappointing thus far) he has the makings of a Championship-winning squad … a far cry from last season and a warning sign to the rest of the MLS, the Whitecaps are here to compete.
Article by Sarshar Hosseinnia