By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
A well-travelled veteran and a core of promising youngsters will lead the Vancouver Whitecaps FC striking department into the 2010 season.
In the final edition of our four-part preview series into Teitur Thordarson's squad, whitecapsfc.com assesses the strikers that will be relied upon to score Vancouver's goals in the USSF D-2 Pro League and the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.
There are some big shoes to fill amongst the current crop of Whitecaps marksmen this season. The release of Charles Gbeke at the end of last season and the transfer of Marcus Haber to English League Championship club West Bromwich Albion leaves the Blue and White without last year's top two goalscorers for the start of the new campaign. Last season, Gbeke and Haber accounted for nearly half of the goals that were scored by the 'Caps in all competitions.
Though it may look like there is an obvious void to fill, Thordarson has increased his side's goalscoring potential with quality new additions in midfield. At the same time, the former Iceland international striker will be looking for a higher rate of scoring production from the returning Marlon James. Though injuries limited the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines international to 24 appearances in 2009, the 33-year-old's consistency in front of goal saw him finish in behind Gbeke and Haber in the men's team scoring charts.
With a full off-season of training under his belt, James will want an even more productive year with the club, even though Thordarson remains in the market for another experienced goalscorer. "We will certainly get goals from Marlon this season, but as he is getting older, I don’t think we can rely on him to play every match for us," Thordarson told whitecapsfc.com. "We are looking to get one more experienced striker in that will help complement the qualities that we have. It is important that we get some experienced quality to go along with our current striking options."
On initial inspection, this season's forward roster provides a glimpse into the exciting future for the 'Caps. Three Whitecaps Residency products in Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Dever Orgill, and Cornelius Stewart will look to take big steps this season, with Major League Soccer just around the corner in 2011. "We can't expect too much from these young strikers this season, even though they are all capable of scoring many goals. It will be interesting to see how well they develop," Thordarson said. "In Dever, we have a natural goalscorer, who is always dangerous in and around the box. He is learning more about our way of playing, especially in terms of his movement from the middle third of the pitch going forward. Randy has exceptional qualities with his speed, but he still needs to develop certain aspects of his game, while Cornelius is an extremely interesting player. He is quick and able to hold the ball up in attacking positions, though he still has work to do tactically."
The Whitecaps open their 2010 regular season this Sunday afternoon, April 11, at Swangard Stadium versus NSC Minnesota Stars. Whitecaps 2010 season tickets are also on sale, starting at $270. 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 purchase rights for Vancouver MLS 2011 in BC Place. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, and by phone at 604.280.4400. For more information on the 2010 season ticket packages, call 604.669.WAVE (9283) or click here.
Click here to view our men's team goalkeepers preview.
Click here to view our men's team defenders preview.
Click here to view our men's team midfielders preview.