SAN DIEGO, CA – A new face and a familiar one have joined Whitecaps FC in San Diego.
Newcomer Cristian Dajome and returning centre back Erik Godoy, who both arrived late Friday, participated in training on Saturday as the ‘Caps kicked off the second leg of their preseason training camp at the University of California, San Diego.
It was Dajome’s first session as a member of the ‘Caps after most recently leading Ecuadorian Serie A side Independiente del Valle to the 2019 Copa Sudamericana in November, while Godoy is returning to the fold after inking a permanent transfer to the ‘Caps last week.
Dajome and Godoy did some light individual training during Saturday’s morning session, in addition to some fitness and tactical work with the group in the afternoon. Although it will take a few days to fully integrate them into the group, Whitecaps FC head coach Marc Dos Santos is encouraged that the roster is already coming together with more than a month remaining until Vancouver’s season opener on February 29 against Sporting Kansas City.
“Hopefully soon we’re going to see them a little bit more with the team,” Dos Santos said. “What I’m happy about is they’re here. The players are getting to know them, connecting with them more, and it’s important especially for a guy like Cristian Dajome to get to know the guys as soon as possible, so it's great that they're here.”
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Now, the only new addition who has yet to join the team is midfielder Leonard Owusu, who is awaiting receipt of his work permit and visa. Dos Santos said there’s a slight chance the Ghanaian will join the team in San Diego towards the end of the trip, or prior to the preseason tournament in Portland.
The ‘Caps kick off their 2020 preseason schedule on Tuesday afternoon against Columbus Crew SC (1 p.m. PT kickoff – follow Whitecaps FC on Twitter for live updates), before facing FC Dallas next Saturday, February 1 and LA Galaxy on Tuesday, February 4.
“These three games in San Diego, what you want to see is growth of the team,” Dos Santos said, adding that he’ll likely make a full lineup change at the half on Tuesday. “Growth in how we want to play, physical levels, tactical levels, and hopefully when we arrive at the tournament in Portland we’re very close to the fitness levels and the acquisition of the principles in how we want to play during the season.”