VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Selecting only 10 players from a list of nearly 200 is a hard enough task as is, but alternating picks with one of your biggest rivals? Now that’s a real challenge.
“If we didn’t have another team that we had to worry about in this process, we could probably be a little bit more forthcoming in advance,” said Whitecaps FC President Bob Lenarduzzi on Monday. “But what we don’t want to be doing is tip our hand.”
On Wednesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers will each select 10 players from the MLS Expansion Draft to bolster their rosters before their inaugural season.
Lenarduzzi was coy at Monday’s media session, taking time to answer questions carefully in fear of letting even the slightest hints slip into the ears of their Northwest rivals.
“There’ll be some assumptions made by Portland as far as our first pick and we’re making some assumptions about their first pick,” stated Lenarduzzi. “I think we both have a good enough understanding of what each other is looking for.”
When asked to elaborate, Lenarduzzi remained tight-lipped.
“We really can’t afford to give them any advantage at this stage in the game,” he insisted.
He did mention, however, that there was a conversation between the two sides about sharing information with one another in order to avoid uncertainty and maximize selections. But apparently the rivalry between the clubs goes beyond the field of play.
“We actually had a dialogue on that, and I won’t say who initiated it, but it was, ‘Hey, do you want to be proactive and share the picks that we’d like to make with each other so that we can have a better opportunity to calculate as we go through,’” explained Lenarduzzi. “I won’t say who decided that that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.”
Lenarduzzi feels that his side is well prepared for Wednesday, whichever direction Portland decide to go with their selections.
“Absolutely, we know what we want to do,” said Lenarduzzi. “What we’ll do as far as the second pick will be determined by what Portland do with their first pick. We have a priority list that we’ll work from. May the best club win.”