Building for the future has been a cornerstone of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and with the club's Major League Soccer era set to begin, it was the club's young players that played a key role in Sunday's win over Seattle Sounders FC.
Few have seen the potential of Vancouver's young players first hand, but for those 3,100 fans that took in the Cascadia Summit finale in Tukwila, Washington, many will have been impressed by the qualities that were put on display by head coach Teitur Thordarson. "I have a lot of hard and tough decisions in the weeks ahead, which means I have a good squad," Thordarson told reporters after the match. "I was just delighted to see the young guys play well. It's best thing that they can do to earn themselves a place in the team."
Much has been made of what Omar Salgado will provide the Blue and White in MLS when he turns 18, but the USA U-20 international gave a glimpse of his abilities by tormenting an experienced Sounders FC backline of Taylor Graham and Patrick Ianni. This included a well-taken opening goal in the early stages at Starfire Sports Stadium. "It was good to score again and play well," said the El Paso, Texas, native. "I'm very happy with my performance. Hopefully, that will earn me more playing time in the future. You need to keep your mind on the game, and not let yourself get up or down emotionally. Mistakes can get you down, so it's important that you keep concentrated. I do expect a lot from myself, so I'm glad it worked out today."
The play of Salgado, Russell Teibert, and Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo earned particular praise from Thordarson. The former Iceland international striker feels that fans have not seen the best of Sanvezzo as yet. "He's not match fit just now, but his way of keeping the ball up front creates chances, both for himself and for others," said Thordarson. "He has a great shot that we haven't seen enough of, but he is getting fitter and is a very good player."
The efforts of Whitecaps FC's youngsters completed a productive weekend for the club at the Cascadia Summit. This included some exciting displays by the club's Residency players during Sunday's thrilling 4-3 defeat to Sounders FC Academy U-18's.
With two weeks of preparation at home to come, there air of optimism continues to build towards 'MLS First Kick' and the club's showdown with Toronto FC. "Overall, I think the staff will be happy because there were some good performances from our guys this weekend," said midfielder Terry Dunfield. "We're building for March 19th and these experiences will put us in good stead."