Sebrango expected back to help revive ailing team
Although Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Teitur Thordarson won't be making wholesale changes for today's game against the Miami FC Blues, there's a good chance he'll have a welcome face back in his forward line.
The Whitecaps are in a season-high two-game losing streak and don't need it to hit three heading into Wednesday's home game with Montreal, which will complete their portion of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship series against the Impact.
But the Caps are expected to have striker Eduardo Sebrango back in the lineup after he missed Tuesday's 2-0 loss in Montreal. Sebrango injured his ankle in a 3-0 loss in Rochester on June 13.
"Chances are quite good he'll be ready," said Thordarson. "After training, they felt he was quite likely ready for Sunday. He has been our most dangerous player and scored most of the goals. He's very important for us."
Sebrango has four goals and one assist in 11 games as well as a team-leading 22 shots. Last season, the native of Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, also led the club, with seven goals, despite missing 12 games with an injury to the same ankle.
"It's not 100 per cent, but I should be able to play without any problem," said Sebrango. "In Rochester, it was wet and I slipped on the turf and twisted it. I thought I could have played in Montreal, but the coach wanted me to rest it."
Sebrango said the team's struggles in the last two games are perhaps a wakeup call.
"We've been in first place, but we know we haven't played our best soccer," he said. "We've worked hard, but have to improve if we want to go far into the playoffs. At the same time, it's been very busy in May and June with travel."
Centreback Chris Pozniak, who was signed to replace team captain Adrian Cann while he's with the Canadian national team, said two losses are not something to get overly concerned about.
"It is the ebbs and flows of the season," said Pozniak, a Canadian international who'll play two more games with the Caps before heading to the U.K. to hopefully catch on with a team there for next season.
"When we did play well defensively and didn't give up as many goals there were probably things we were doing that we didn't get punished for. Right now, those problems are getting magnified."
Thordarson said he's not satisfied with the way the team defended -- particularly in the Rochester game -- but doesn't lay any of the blame at the feet of goalkeeper Jay Nolly, who's played the last six games.
"We can't blame him for the goals in Rochester or Montreal," said Thordarson. "That's just poor defending and by that I mean the whole team."
While Sebrango is expected back, midfielder Jeff Clarke (leg) is not quite ready to play, but Thordarson said he could be available for Wednesday's game against Montreal.
Meanwhile, the Whitecaps announced the signing of centreback Mason Trafford to a one-year contract, pending international clearance. Trafford, 21, joins the Whitecaps after spending four years at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). Trafford was born in Boynton Beach, Florida, but moved to North Vancouver in 1988 and played his youth soccer with the North Shore Selects.