VANCOUVER, BC – It was the last game of preseason, and Brian White had just recorded a hat-trick in a 4-2 win over LA Galaxy.
“Everything was feeling pretty good,” tells White. “Any time you can put three goals in you feel like things are trending in the right direction.”
The New Jersey native looked set to fly into the 2022 MLS season. After all, he was coming off of a career high 12 goals and six assists – with 15 of those goal contributions coming in the last 16 matches of 2021.
But that momentum grinded to a sudden, unexpected halt.
In a final preseason tune-up in the club’s Blue vs. White match, White would suffer a right foot contusion resulting in him missing the season opener and three of the first four matches.
He would miss another three matches in May due to health and safety protocols, and three in August with a strain to his rib cage. White ended the year with 19 starts and 26 matches in league play, both less than 2021 when he joined the club in June.
“I don’t feel like I was ever able to get into a full rhythm,” admitted the American marksman. “It was a difficult year.”
Through it all White still had his moments, contributing seven goals in all competitions. That included a memorable goal in the Canadian Championship Final on the way to lifting the Voyageurs Cup at BC Place.
But his four goals in MLS play were well below what he expected, and now he’s looking to get back to his best for 2023.
“Personally for me, honestly it was a disappointing season. I hold myself to a higher standard of not only goals, but play overall. For me it’s a learning experience for sure, and I’m just looking to come back next year even stronger.”
White wasn't the only player to miss time, with other key contributors such as Ryan Gauld, Deiber Caicedo, Tristan Blackmon, Javain Brown, Luís Martins, Sebastian Berhalter, and Thomas Hasal among others missing matches, as well as health and safety protocols ravaging the team.
"We had a lot of adversity in terms of keeping guys on the field, and it makes it difficult to gain momentum."
Through it all, White always kept in good spirits, and he sees the tight-knit nature of the team as a strength heading into next year.
"It’s a close group of guys that get on well off the field, and that makes it easier to get through those hard times on the field. Preseason is always a big factor. That’s the time where we put the building blocks down, we grow as a team, and we build those relationships off the field to perform well on the field."
And for White, he wants fans to see him looking his sharpest next season, which can only mean one thing.
"Maybe a mullet."
Ok, maybe two things.