5 takeaways from preseason


Whitecaps FC wrapped up preseason with a series of strong performances at the Coachella Valley Invitational, finishing 3W-0L-3D in their six matches played.

Now the real fun begins and the matches count. Here are a few takeaways from preseason.

Schöpf shines

Most know the story by now.

Alessandro Schöpf was signed last August as a lifelong midfielder from the German Bundesliga. It was no easy transition for the Austrian national team player, as he not only didn't have a preseason to integrate, but he also moved halfway around the world while his wife was pregnant with their first child.

Now that he is settled, the expectation has been that he would find his feet, and from all accounts that is exactly what has happened. Head coach Vanni Sartini has heralded him as one of the best performing players from preseason, as he looks set to slot into one of the three midfield slots to start the year.

Steady at the back

Preseason always needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but in the 'Caps six matches at the Coachelle Valley Invitational they conceded only three goals, including three clean sheets in their final four outings.

Those results came with a rotation of players, one of which was newcomer Yohei Takoaka who was in net for the 2-0 win over Minnesota United FC in the finale.

Laborda fits right in

The 'Caps first key newcomer of the offseason was Uruguayan defender Mathías Laborda.

Since day one, it's been a smooth transition for the former Uruguray U-23 national team player.

Laborda played right across the backline, from right back, to centre back, to left back, and helped the team stay solid wherever he lined up. On the other end of the pitch, he also showed that he can be a threat on set pieces.

Dajo goes hard

Cristian Dájome is a consummate team player.

In 2022, he filled a need as a wingback, including starting in that spot to help the 'Caps to the Canadian Championship.

But now he is returning to a more attacking position, where he excelled in 2021 with 12 goals and six assists in all competitions.

If preseason is any indication, with Dájome leading the team with four goals, then he might be ready to be back at his best.

Veselinović and Gressel called up to their national teams

In the middle of preseason both Ranko Veselinović and Julian Gressel were called up to Serbia and the United States respectively.

Veselinović received his second call up, while Gressel got his first after becoming a United States citizen.

Funny enough, the two faced each other in a match that Serbia ended up winning 2-1. Veselinović put in a very strong performance at centre back, while Gressel set up the lone U.S. goal with the elite crossing that he is well known for.

Now both players are hungry for more, and motivated to earn a call back.