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Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Started on 17 December 2014 by dd10
Latest Reply on 26 December 2014 by shylax
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  • VIEWS11784

Squad Preview, Part VI


Darren Mattocks was drafted second overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft from the University of Akron, a soccer powerhouse in American college soccer, where he made 47 appearances and scored 39 goals over two years. As a freshman, the speedy Jamaican striker led his college team to the NCAA College Cup title while finishing third nationwide in scoring with 18 goals. Mattocks followed it up with a 21-goal sophomore year, good enough for second in the country, en route to being named a semifinalist for the top male player in NCAA Division I soccer for 2011. Mattocks scored seven goals for the Whitecaps in his rookie season, but he had a sophomore slump last year as he only tallied three times playing in almost the same amount of games. The highest-paid striker on the team, he will need to be much more consistent this season if he wants to see the club exercise its option for a two-year contract extension.

Sebastian Fernandez, who most recently played with Nicolas Mezquida for Uruguayan side Boston River, was recently brought in on a one-year loan with a purchase option. Another exciting player up front with a lot of potential, the versatile Fernandez gives Vancouver options on both wings and up front. One of a number of South Americans on the Caps' squad this season, it will be interesting to see how Grimwood will utilize him with the knowledge that Fernandez is only temporarily here on loan.

Gambian Kekutah Manneh, the fourth overall draft pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, is a natural goalscorer who brings electrifying pace out wide. Another versatile player with the natural ability to play on the left or on the right, the native of the smallest country on mainland Africa has called the United States home for the past five years. Manneh had a memorable rookie season with Whitecaps FC last year, scoring six goals and recording two assists in 20 appearances. His biggest moment was scoring a hat trick versus rival Seattle Sounders late in the season, which made him the youngest player to record a hat trick in MLS history.

Erik Hurtado joined Vancouver after he was the fifth overall selection in last year's SuperDraft right behind Manneh. Currently known more for his wild hair style than his ability on the pitch, Hurtado started in four of his fifteen appearances last season, notching two assists. Yet another player on the Vancouver roster gifted with tremendous speed, it remains to be seen whether or not he can co-exist with Mattocks and Manneh, two similarly speedy and rather one-dimensional young forwards.

Along with Koffie and Teibert, Omar Salgado is the last of those still on the roster today from Vancouver's first MLS roster three seasons ago. The club’s first-ever draft pick back in 2011, the upcoming season represents an opportunity for the target man to continue his development in MLS, after two separate right foot fractures have reduced him to playing in just seven games in 2012 and none last season. Although one of the longest-tenured players on the team, at the age of 20, the American is another part of a youthful group of Vancouver strikers who is looking to make the position his own.

Local homegrown striker Caleb Clarke returns to Vancouver having spent the past few months on loan with German club FC Augsburg II. The Canadian has made two brief substitute appearances for the senior team since graduating from the academy two years ago, but is pretty low on the depth chart as a result of the team drafting the speedy trio of Mattocks, Manneh, and Hurtado in the space of a year.

Mamadou Diouf will spend the upcoming season on loan with Andre Lewis at third-tier side Charleston Battery. The native of Senegal has been described as having "fantastic quick feet for a big guy", and could see time this season as a centre forward or possibly out wide as well. Another player that is pretty low on the depth chart at a rather crowded position, Diouf must have an outstanding season in Charleston for his name to be in any discussion for Vancouver moving forward.

Burning Questions

While Mattocks, Manneh, Hurtado, and Salgado have all showed glimpses of potential in the past, all four players have struggled to be consistent enough and make the striker position their own. Should the Whitecaps go on the market and seek a proven scorer to lead the line?

Vancouver is loaded with many young strikers who are rather similar in strengths and weaknesses. Would it be in the best interest for the club to acquire a striker who possesses a different skillset?
Another really nice update, this will go far if you carry on like this :)

Report: Caps acquire starting-caliber foreign midfielder from within Major League Soccer

The latest insider reports from around MLS have confirmed that the Whitecaps have acquired a young, starting-caliber, foreign midfielder through a trade with another MLS team. With Vancouver Whitecaps looking set at depth in attacking midfield, most have speculated that this player will be more of a holding midfielder type in the form of Gershon Koffie. If this is true, the added depth in this area of the pitch will be a tremendous boost for Vancouver as Alderson and Teibert are the only true backups to Koffie right now. We have narrowed down the possible mystery player down to five candidates.

Osvaldo Alonso, under contract to rival Seattle Sounders, has been one of the best holding midfielders in MLS since joining MLS in 2009. Voted team MVP by his teammates for the past four seasons, the Cuban defector has averaged 28 starts a year in his five-year MLS career. Having built a reputation of being a pitbull, he breaks up plays with tenacity, distributes the ball effectively, and has a commanding influence on the pitch. His typically minuscule offensive stats - eight goals and twelve assists despite playing over 13,000 minutes - belie his remarkable range, savvy positioning, and unquestioned commitment.
Probability: Unlikely

Matias Laba, one of the top young talents from Argentina, joined Canadian rivals Toronto FC as a young Designated Player at the start of last season. However, Toronto has splashed the cash in recent months, first acquiring Brazilian striker Gilberto, before stepping it up a notch by acquiring English striker Jermaine Defoe from Tottenham and American midfielder Michael Bradley from AS Roma. Under league rules, clubs can only have three DPs on the books, and it looks likely that the club will be forced to part ways with Laba in order to comply. While Toronto will undoubtedly make a concerted effort to make a play to keep Laba, such as using different ways to remove his DP tag, or sending him out on loan, this could be a prime opportunity for Vancouver to pounce on Toronto's need to become roster compliant.
Probability: Likely

Hendry Thomas, a Honduran international with 49 English Premier League games under his belt, joined Colorado Rapids midway through the 2012 season from Wigan Athletic. Starting the final eight games in 2012 before claiming 27 starts last season, the robust midfield presence offers a useful piece for any team given his diligent work to frustrate the opposition. The former Wigan Athletic man closes down well, crunches opposing midfielders when warranted and distributes efficiently and quickly. The hard-nosed midfielder has also made 52 appearances for the Honduran national team, scoring two goals and appearing in the 2010 World Cup, but has not played for Los Catrachos since September 2011.
Probability: Possible

Diego Chara, an indefatigable force in the Portland Timbers' midfield, has logged more minutes than any other Timbers' player in the Major League Soccer era. A member of our expansion cousins and another one of our local rivals, the Colombia midfielder is often a leader in fouls committed, some seasons with more than double his closest competitor. A classic box-to-box midfielder who will make a game-saving tackle in front of his own goal only to turn around and set up the attack on the other end of the pitch moments later, his energetic presence, professional approach, and fearlessness have fueled the Timbers over the last three years. Before signing on as the Timbers’ first Designated Player in their MLS history, Chara was a dependable playmaker for eight seasons in Colombia’s top flight helping orchestrate one of the most prolific offenses in the league in 2010.
Probability: Unlikely

Juninho has spent the last four seasons, the first three on loan, as a key member of the Los Angeles Galaxy midfield before signing on permanently with the star-studded team before the beginning of last season. Having played alongside David Beckham in central midfield, the Brazilian has blossomed into one of the top defensive midfielders in the league in recent years. His stability in defensive midfield was what allowed Beckham the freedom to roam and create chances with crosses and through balls. Stunning strikes have been commonplace for high-flying Los Angeles Galaxy in the past few seasons, and perhaps surprisingly Beckham is not the man responsible. Indeed, the player behind these long-range wonder goals is Juninho, who is looking ever more capable of following in the footsteps of the Galaxy’s main attraction. After Beckham left the league at the conclusion of the 2012 season, the third Designated Player slot was left vacant while the team was courting such stars as Frank Lampard, Kaka, and Andrea Pirlo. However, with three-time MLS Best XI American central defender Omar Gonzalez having signed a contract extension late last season, becoming the team's third Designated Player in the process, it remains to be seen if Juninho would want a move as he was in every right equally, if not more, deserving of earning the Designated Player contract as well.
Probability: Possible
Sign Juninho, a great player
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9 yearsEdited

Juninho says no!

With rumours going around that Juninho could be looking for a move away from Los Angeles Galaxy, the Brazilian midfielder has now publicly denied the truth to any of these rumours. Juninho was quoted saying "[his] last four years here in California, I'm very happy. I love it here, and (Galaxy head coach) Bruce [Arena] has given me all the support."

Additionally, there are rumours circulating that United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann will be calling up Juninho to the American national team for the first time within the next few months. Uncapped for Brazil at any level, Juninho finally transferred to MLS permanently last season after spending three years on loan from Brazilian side Sao Paulo. "Last year I bring all my family, all my stuff, my wife's dog, everything to come here," said a delighted Juninho.

Additionally StubHub Center, the home stadium for Los Angeles Galaxy, has also been the National Training Center for the US Soccer Federation for the last decade.

With Juninho now having denied rumours that he is leaving the Galaxy, it remains to be seen who exactly Vancouver has acquired.
Unfortunately Juninho isn't coming to the Whitecaps, although I'm glad to hear his wife's dog is going to enjoy Los Angeles! He would've been a great midfielder for you and is definitely playable at international level although not an ideal starter at that level.

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