HONOLULU, HAWAII – Vancouver Whitecaps FC opened the preseason with a 4-0 win over Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo of the Japanese first division on Tuesday at the University of Hawaii. Here are three takeaways from the match.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said there was “a lot of good stuff” from his group, as well as “a lot to work on.” The main thing at this point is simply getting players up to speed physically, and in that regard, the friendly served its purpose.
“There were some good combinations of play between certain individuals,” Robinson told whitecapsfc.com. “Obviously there’s freshness in the first 20 minutes of each half, but it’s just a fitness exercise for me. We trained hard, the boys went into the game fatigued, which I wanted them to do, because when you’re fatigued you make different decisions.”
Robinson fielded a different starting XI and formation for each half on Tuesday. At this point, however, he said it’s “far too early” to read into things.
“I’ll be trying different combinations in preseason,” he said. “I’ve got in my mind an idea of what I think I want, but that’s subject to change because it’ll depend on what the personnel do. We had a number of players that weren’t involved today. They didn’t play any minutes due to small injuries, so we’ll try to get them involved on Thursday as well.”
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Two players that made an immediate impact for the ‘Caps were midfielder Efrain Juarez and striker Kei Kamara. Juarez, for his part, got stuck in on a number of occasions early on and commanded the ball while playing next to Russell Teibert in the centre of the park.
“Effy was good, but that doesn’t surprise me,” Robinson said. “Effy’s a great player. He brings a lot to the table. He’s very smart at what he does. He’s a nuts and bolts player. And he controls the tempo of the game. He and Rusty did very well.”
Kamara, meanwhile, scored a goal and nearly had two others – one on an open header in the first minute and another on a left-footed half volley from distance that was turned away. He was also a handful to deal with in the attacking box, which should make the ‘Caps even more of a threat on set pieces than they were a year ago.
NEW KID IN TOWN
Eventually, Colyn helped set up the Australian’s late goal on a one-two with Alphonso Davies.
“I like Simon a lot,” Robinson said. “I’ve heard a lot about Simon back when Robert Earnshaw was coaching the U-14 level. He brought him to my attention. The program is very high on him. We brought him along with us as one of three or four Residency players. I think he deserved his chance.”
“It was based on what he’s done around the place,” Robinson continued. “Very respectful. But he’s desperate to play. And I want players who are desperate to play for this football club. I asked him if he wanted to play and he said, ‘Yes please.’ He brought a great energy to the game.”