A mix of new faces and experienced campaigners will look to increase the number of goals scored by the Vancouver Whitecaps men's team this season.
In the final edition of our four-part preview series into Teitur Thordarson's squad, whitecapsfc.com looks at the forwards that aim to fire the club to success in 2008.
Finding the back of the net proved a big challenge for the Whitecaps in 2007, as the club recorded less than a goal-a-game during the regular season. The team's woes in front of goal were further underlined by Eduardo Sebrango finishing as the club's top scorer with seven goals, despite the former Cuban international missing nearly half of the year through injury.
As with the other areas of the squad, off-season changes saw four strikers move on from Vancouver last autumn. Josh Hansen has found a new home with Puerto Rico Islanders for 2008, while Alen Marcina will suit for Minnesota Thunder this term. Jason McLaughlin has returned to last season's USL First Division championship finalists Atlanta Silverbacks, while Marty Johnson has been on trial with Carolina RailHawks this preseason. In need of boosting their attacking ranks, the Whitecaps acquired a former Major League Soccer hit-man and an NCAA Division I college standout this winter.
Former Jamaican youth international Nicholas Addlery comes to Vancouver after making a handful of appearances for MLS side DC United last term. Assistant coach Toss Wawrousek feels the 26-year-old's pace and power will cause problems for opponents. "He's extremely explosive and has a nose for goal in the open field," Wawrousek told whitecapsfc.com. "He stretches defenders and is always looking to make the deep run. That's a very dangerous combination to have in a striker."
The other new arrival is former Oregon State University star Nick Webb, who alongside his twin brother in midfielder Mason Webb, makes the jump to the professional game with the Swangard Stadium outfit. Wawrousek thinks Webb's tireless work ethic will suit the team's pressing style of play. "He's a very good ball striker with both feet, and has similar playing qualities to that of Mason," he said. "He has very fast feet and is explosive off the mark."
While the likes of Addlery and Webb will provide a boost in attack, Thordarson will also be looking to the experienced goalscoring qualities of Sebrango and Jason Jordan. Wawrousek is pleased that both players are fit and available to start the campaign after the pair missed large parts of last season through injury. "Jason remains a player that has all the tools to be a prolific striker," Wawrousek said. "He's exceptional at holding the ball and tremendous off of the turn, as well as getting on the back-end of crosses. Eddy, meanwhile, brings such a wealth of experience to the forward position. He knows how to free himself and how to make space for other players."
Whitecaps fans should also expect to see the versatile Alfredo Valente in a forward role at various stages of the season. "He gives us different dimensions to our striking core and is a player that has impeccable timing to get on the end of crosses," said Wawrousek.
The Whitecaps open the 2008 regular season this Saturday evening, April 12, at Swangard Stadium with an all-Canadian tilt versus the Montreal Impact. Season tickets are on sale now and start at $199. All season tickets include a bonus ticket to this year’s international friendly. For more information, CLICK HERE or call the Whitecaps office at 604.669.WAVE (9283).
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