Man in form: Cavallini, 'Caps heating up for stretch run

Cavallini celebration hoop

Lucas Cavallini proclaimed last month once he scored his first MLS goal, “I know I won’t stop.”

Goals haven’t quite flowed like water for the Canadian national team standout, but El Tanque is enjoying his best form since joining the league. He has three goals in his last two games — both important Vancouver wins, including a brace in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over LAFC at Providence Park.

A big key to his offensive production, according to Whitecaps FC coach Marc dos Santos, is Cavallini’s work on the other side of the ball.

“Cava is a player that when he is involved without the ball, it’s like something in his brain clicks, and then he's even more aggressive in the box, and he's more engaged with the game,” Dos Santos said after the match. “In the games that he’s disconnected without the ball well he loses connection even with the ball. It's a player that needs to be involved both in the defensive side and the offensive side and when he does that well, he’s very alive in the game. But of course something has to be said with how Fredy [Montero] is helping Cava and playing around him and taking decisions around him.”

Indeed, the partnership, and friendship, between Cavallini and Montero has been well-documented. And when you throw in Cristian Dajome on the wing, it’s a dangerous threesome who play to each other’s strengths.

“I am really good at finding space and Cava is great at making those post runs and Fredy’s just a magician with the ball when he’s passing it,” Dajome said through a translator.

It’s certainly no surprise the Whitecaps are enjoying their best moment with a hot Cavallini at the helm, just as they envisioned when they spent a reported $6 million to make him their attacking centerpiece in the offseason. While there were moments in the second half Dos Santos said his team needlessly suffered, the opening 45 minutes against LAFC were perhaps the best of the season for the ‘Caps.

“I think now for him now is the best moment, and he gets a lot of help from other players that’s behind him,” Ali Adnan said. “He gets help from the staff because they believe in him a lot. And that's Cava. We still need him for next game and every game because he’s like the best player we have on the Whitecaps. One of the best, because I'm the best.”

Perhaps its the influence of his Colombian attacking partners, but Dajome said Cavallini’s improvements aren’t limited to scoring goals.

“He’s really improved. When we first started fooling around like that, he was too rigid, looking like a robot,” Dajome said of Cavallini’s dance moves. "But now he’s slowly getting those hips into it and making a little season with it, a little sauce with it.”