VANCOUVER, BC – The boys are back.
After 10 straight days on the East Coast, where they defeated both New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, Vancouver Whitecaps FC returned to training on Tuesday at UBC.
Here are some news and notes from the day.
BEST IN MLS?
The accolades keep coming for David Ousted.
A day after being named to the MLS Team of the Week for the second straight week, Ousted was nominated for MLS Player of the Month and MLS Save of the Week on Tuesday.
That’s not a surprise to his teammates, who were singing his praises following an eight-save performance in Saturday’s 2-1 win over New England.
“He’s the top goalkeeper in MLS,” left back Jordan Harvey told reporters. “He’s gotten us wins. I think throughout the season, if you look back on the games, he’s probably gotten us nine points here and there. For me, he’s the all-star and MVP of our team this season.”
“You see the goalkeeper making those saves and it just gives confidence to everyone,” added Kekuta Manneh, who has two goals in his last three games. “We’re very secure in the back and it lets us attackers play free-mindedly.”
This past weekend’s win over New England was extra special for Harvey.
Carl Robinson gave Harvey the captain’s armband to commemorate his 200th MLS appearance – and it was a gesture he very much appreciated.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I was to wear it,” Harvey told reporters on Tuesday. “To play with guys like Mauro and Kah, guys that I look up to and guys that probably have played a lot more games then me, captaining them was a huge honour for sure.”
“I think he deserved it and I wanted to reward him because he’s been a great servant for the club and for me since I’ve been here,” Robinson said. “It was a nice moment for him. He took the team talk, which is sometimes out of people’s comfort zones. And I wanted to do that to challenge him but Jordan was great on Saturday and I’m delighted we won the game for him.”
The 31-year-old defender could be in for another milestone this weekend against Colorado Rapids, as he’s sitting on 99 MLS regular season appearances as a member of Whitecaps FC. Fittingly, his first match with the club was on July 9, 2011 – also at Colorado. Harvey began his MLS career with the Rapids in 2008.
‘WE’VE DONE NOTHING YET’
As it stands, the ‘Caps sit atop the Western Conference and are second to only D.C. United in the MLS Supporters’ Shield race.
Don’t tell that to Robinson, though.
“We’ve done nothing yet,” he said. “We’ve put ourselves in a decent position by winning games of football, but we need to continue to do that because it can change quickly.”
After winning three straight games, their next test is a Colorado Rapids team that have proved to be a tricky foe for Whitecaps FC – especially at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“We’ve had a tough go of it there,” Harvey said. “And I think we recognize that. So we need to go in with the right mindset just like we have these last three games. I thought we had a good performance there last time we played them away but didn’t come away with the points we thought we deserved. So hopefully we can this time.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 6 p.m. PT (TSN and TSN 1410).
GOLD CUP BOUND
Russell Teibert wasn’t at training on Monday, as he has joined the Canadian senior men’s national team ahead of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Darren Mattocks is also Gold Cup-bound – the striker was named to Jamaica’s roster after representing them at the 2015 Copa America – but he won’t leave until after this weekend’s match vs. Colorado.
Canada and Jamaica are both in Group B, along with Costa Rica and El Salvador. The Red and White open the competition on July 8 vs. El Salvador (7:30 p.m. PT on Sportsnet World).
The ‘Caps conclude their season-long five-match road trip on Saturday vs. Colorado Rapids (6 p.m. PT on TSN), before returning home to face Sporting Kansas City on July 12 at BC Place.
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