Striking for more success


By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com

Consistent goalscoring is the hallmark of any successful side in soccer. Vancouver Whitecaps FC hope their new-look strike force will make the difference in fulfilling their aspirations.

In the final edition of our four-part preview series into Teitur Thordarson's squad, whitecapsfc.com looks at the forwards that aim to fire the club to further success in the USL First Division, as well as Nutrilite Canadian Championship glory.

Three notable strikers moved on during the offseason. Former Cuban international Eduardo Sebrango returned east to Canadian rivals Montreal Impact after leading the Blue and White last season with 16 goals in all competitions. Nicholas Addlery, meanwhile, made the switch to last season's USL-1 championship finalists Puerto Rico Islanders. Whitecaps fans also saw the end of an era, as Jason Jordan left the club after 12 consecutive seasons. The Richmond, BC, native sits third on the Whitecaps all-time goalscoring list with 78.

With USL-1 Championship Final Most Valuable Player Charles Gbeke being the lone senior striker left from 2008, Thordarson started his rebuilding job by signing Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international captain Marlon James. The 32-year-old comes to Vancouver with a reputation for finding the back of the net on a regular basis. He led his last club in Kedah FA to a domestic treble of Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Cup, and Malaysian FA Cup titles in two consecutive seasons. "When I saw him, I liked him straight away," Thordarson told whitecapsfc.com. "I feel he fits into our way of playing very well. Marlon has speed, good technique, and can keep the ball very well. He also has a very good eye for playing others into goalscoring positions. Not only can he score goals, he can also create situations for his teammates in front of goal. I feel we will see a lot from him during the season."

Thordarson's new additions also include a local forward that has returned home after a spell in Europe. Canadian youth international Marcus Haber spent two seasons in the Netherlands with FC Groningen before taking up the chance to play for his hometown club. "Marcus has played a lot as a centre back, but I feel he is best suited to being a striker," revealed Thordarson. "He is very fast and is very strong in the air. I think we will also see a lot from him during the year."

It is also in the striking department that the Whitecaps Residency program will provide further depth. Last season, Randy Edwini-Bonsu made four league appearances for the Blue and White, while Jamaican youth international Dever Orgill made his USL-1 debut as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 win at home to Montreal Impact on September 13. Though Edwini-Bonsu and Orgill have developed further during the offseason, Thordarson sees the jump to the first team as a big challenge for the pair. "Randy did very well for us in the games he played last year, while Dever has proven qualities to be a very good striker as well," he said. "What we need to see from them is a transition from the youth to the professional level, so they will need to work hard to reach that next level."

A top striker during his playing days in Europe, Thordarson is excited by the potential of his chosen marksmen. "I feel we are more dynamic, with more variation of qualities in the strikers that we have," said the former Iceland international. "It will not be easy to replace a striker who scored the goals like Sebrango did last year, but I feel the talent we have up front has great potential of developing into a very good attack for us."

The Whitecaps open the 2009 regular season this Saturday evening, April 11, at Swangard Stadium versus Charleston Battery. 2009 season tickets are now on sale. Season tickets include all men’s and women's team regular season and playoff home matches at Swangard Stadium, Nutrilite Canadian Championship home matches against Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, as well as priority listing for Vancouver MLS 2011 in BC Place and the proposed Whitecaps Waterfront Stadium. For more information on the 2009 season ticket packages, click here or call 604.669.WAVE (9283).

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