VANCOUVER, BC – After a mini three-day break, which came on the heels of a busy week that included a long and taxing trip to Monterrey, Mexico, Vancouver Whitecaps FC returned to training on Wednesday morning at UBC. Here are some news and notes from the day.
SHEA OWNS UP
As expected, the big talking point was Brek Shea’s red card in Saturday’s 2-0 loss vs. Toronto FC.
Referee Ismail Elfath sent Shea off for dissent in the 70th minute and Toronto scored both their goals in the ensuing 10 minutes with the ‘Caps down a man. All interviewees, including a candid Jordan Harvey, were asked about Elfath’s decision.
For his part, Shea took a more matter-of-fact approach.
“As an athlete you get competitive and you want to win,” he told reporters. “I guess sometimes it gets the best of you. To let my team and my teammates down like that is disappointing … it doesn’t matter whether I deserved it or not. It happened and I let the team down.”
When pressed about a difficult start to his time in Vancouver, Shea went on to say:
“I just want to do better. I want to help the team, not hurt the team. I have to be smarter in situations, whether it’s dealing with the ref or making a foul in a certain place. Just be a smarter player.”
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said he has “nothing to complain about” if referees are clamping down on foul and abusive language.
His only ask is that it’s consistent across the board.
“If that’s what the league is ruling now, that if you swear at the referee you get sent off, then I’ve got nothing to complain about,” he told reporters. “Then he should have got sent off. But that needs to be made clear every week with every player.”
If Saturday’s match was any indication, a healthy and fit Christian Bolaños may be just what the doctor ordered for the ‘Caps as they enter an important stretch of matches.
The Costa Rican midfielder, who was hampered with injuries to start the season, immediately injected some life into the ‘Caps attack after getting subbed in at halftime. And that shouldn’t really be a surprise. Let’s not forget that he led Whitecaps FC with eight assists just a year ago.
“Bola made a massive difference,” Robinson said. "If he was fit I would have started him on the weekend. Going away with Costa Rica now will help us as well. Hopefully they don’t play him 90 minutes both games, which I think they might. He’ll come back into the equation. He makes us play. He’s a very smart, experienced player and I think you see the difference he made when he came in.”
Bolaños and fellow Costa Rican Kendall Waston are away with the Ticos for a pair of World Cup qualifiers on Friday vs. Mexico and Tuesday vs. Honduras.
‘NO NEED TO WORRY’
Certainly, the ‘Caps haven’t gotten off to the start they wanted in league play with just one point from their first three matches. One positive they can take away from those three matches, however, is that they’ve yet to concede a goal with 11 players on the field.
“I honestly think there’s no need to worry at this point in the season,” Harvey told reporters. “I’m fully confident in this group that we have. If we can clean up some of the areas – final third, not getting sent off – I think we’ll have some success. It just needs to come, it needs to come.”
And there’s no better time like the present.
Following the international break, the ‘Caps host LA Galaxy on Saturday, April 1 and Tigres UANL in the Champions League semifinals on Wednesday, April 5. Then, after a trip to Real Salt Lake, they return home to face the defending champion Seattle Sounders FC.