'Caps kick off final week of training before First Kick

Reo-Coker: "There's an abundance of talent here"

Nigel Reo-Coker

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

VANCOUVER, BC – After a successful showing at the Rose City Invitational preseason tournament in Portland, Vancouver Whitecaps FC were back at UBC on Tuesday to kick off their final week of training before Saturday’s season opener. 

The ‘Caps went undefeated at the Rose City Invitational, defeating Portmore United and San Jose Earthquakes before playing to a 1-1 draw with the host Portland Timbers in the tournament finale.

“If people watched the games that we played in Portland, they would see that there’s an abundance of talent here,” midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker told reporters after Tuesday’s training session. “We’re playing a lot more football now, possession wise and with our attacking transition. We’ve changed a lot.”

Since opening camp at the end of January, the ‘Caps have posted a 4W-2L-1D record in preseason competition, including three wins in their last four matches.

“I think we’ve had a pretty good gameplan as to how we’re going to deal with these six weeks in preseason,” centre back Jay DeMerit told reporters. “You should definitely be peaking at this point, and I think as a group based on the last six weeks, I believe we are peaking. But I also believe there’s still even a higher peak to go, which is a positive sign.”

Over the course of the preseason, one thing that became clear was the amount of depth within the squad – something that was bolstered with the additions of Uruguayan attacking midfielders Sebastian Fernandez and Nicolas Mezquida, who each scored a goal in the preseason, and Argentine defensive midfielder Matias Laba, who Reo-Coker likened to former teammate and current Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano.

There is healthy competition at almost every position, which is why Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said “he has some decisions to make” heading into Saturday’s season opener.

News and notes

- Whitecaps FC announced the addition of Homegrown goalkeeper Marco Carducci on Wednesday. Carducci, 17, becomes the youngest player on Vancouver’s MLS roster.

- U-23 midfielder Ben Fisk has completed his training camp invite and has moved on to pursue other opportunities. 

- Right back Steven Beitashour (Iran) and striker Darren Mattocks (Jamaica), who scored a goal for Jamaica in a 2-0 win over Barbados on Sunday, are both currently away on international duty. Mattocks has now scored a goal in each of his previous three matches. Iran and Jamaican each have international matches on Wednesday, but Robinson said he’s hopeful both players will be available for selection on Saturday. 

- Robinson, who played with Thierry Henry at New York Red Bulls, said he hasn’t exchanged any texts with the French superstar about his status for Saturday’s match. But the ‘Caps manager reiterated that “he wants to beat New York with Thierry in the team.”

- Whitecaps FC will reveal its new kit – featuring the special 40th anniversary mark – Wednesday evening at the 2014 Season Launch Event, an exclusive event for season ticket holders. 

Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349 and single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.