Best of enemies on the pitch - The Province

Friend, ex-teammate awaits Charles in Puerto Rico

By Marc Weber

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Marcus Haber beats Charleston Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock, but cannot find the net during the first half of USL action at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby April 11.

Vancouver Whitecaps forward Marcus Haber beats Charleston Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock, but cannot find the net during the first half of USL action at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby April 11.
Photograph by: Nick Procaylo, The Province

Wesley Charles can't wait to see Nicholas Addlery again. He can, however, wait to talk to him again.

"I talked to him on the phone and I told him it won't be easy," said Charles, the Vancouver Whitecaps hulking centreback.

"Once we go over that white line, the friendship is out the window. I won't talk to him before the game, I won't talk to him during the game, but after I'll shake his hand, and, of course, we'll go get something to eat."

The Whitecaps play their first road game of the year Saturday against the Puerto Rico Islanders (4 p.m., usllive.com).

It's a rematch of last year's USL-1 championship game -- won 2-1 by Vancouver -- and it's a chance for the Caps to get reacquainted with Addlery, who was cut by head coach Teitur Thordarson after one season, landing with their rivals.

The Jamaican-born forward scored four times and added one assist in 34 appearances for Vancouver. He started 21 times, but was supplanted by Charles Gbeke, who arrived in a mid-season trade with Montreal.

Wesley Charles, who is from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, was especially close with Addlery, his fellow Caribbean islander.

"Throughout the season, you could say we became more than best friends, we became brothers," Charles said. "He showed me love and I showed him back love.

"Anywhere we'd go, we'd always go together. We'd cook together. We got along really well, so it was sad to see him go."

Addlery is off to a great start with his new club, scoring three times in four CONCACAF Champions League games as the Islanders made a run to the semifinals, only to be knocked out on penalties 10 days ago.

It's going to take a lot more than the silent treatment from Charles to come out with points on Saturday.

"They're going to be near the top of the table at the end, you can tell that now," said Whitecaps captain Martin Nash. "They've had a great run in Champions League and they're just going to keep moving forward.

"They're in midseason form, and it's a good chance to see where we're at."

Thordarson is taking 20 players on the road trip that also includes a Tuesday meeting with the expansion Austin Aztex in Texas. Three residency players back from the Dallas Cup are in the mix, including Jamaican forward Dever Orgill, who scored five times in as many games at the prestigious youth tournament.

"It's going to be a great experience, and hopefully I get playing time," said Orgill, who should see the field with Marlon James (ankle) missing the trip.

The Islanders clipped the Caps by a single point for the regular-season crown in 2008, going 1-0-2 in head-to-head meetings.

Vancouver opened the season with a 0-0 home draw against Charleston last Saturday.

mweber@theprovince.com
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