Day 2 of Whitecaps FC evaluation camp took place on Thursday with a strong emphasis on fluid and attacking soccer put forward by Martin Rennie and his staff. The Scotsman has not been the boss in Vancouver for long, but he is already asserting his attacking philosophy onto the ‘Caps players, who are all fighting for a place on the roster.
“One of the main themes today was regarding penetrating runs and penetrating passes,” Rennie said. “The team is very comfortable just keeping possession without ever making runs behind, and playing balls behind. Yesterday we played small-sided games and there was hardly ever any goals scored, and that's not what we're looking for,” the 36-year-old continued. “We're looking to make it hard for defenders, running behind them, making different types of movements, so we worked on that.”
Rennie also emphasized the importance of the team picking up the pace when it comes to passing, instead of simply keeping the ball for the sake of it and being too predictable for the opposition.
“People like to see possession soccer, but to do that you have to pass the ball really fast, otherwise it's of no value – it just keeps possession without ever going anywhere,” Rennie said. “But if you move the ball fast, then it allows you to move the opposition, which then creates openings and then you can create chances. One of the things in the last number of years, is the teams I've coached have been the highest scoring teams in the league, and even in the country and I would love to continue with that.”
The fluid, attacking style the former Carolina RailHawks boss is hoping to bring in sounds like music to the ears of attacking midfielder Davide Chiumiento.
“Personally, I love it,” Chiumiento said. “We have the ball a lot and really try to go forward and make a lot of movements and to ask for the ball a lot. Personally I like it a lot, but it's important for everyone to train well together and prepare well for next season.”
The Swiss-Italian also had a message for those who thought he might be on the way out of Vancouver after being left out of the squad for two of the club's final three matches.
“For the people who say this, they might see me next year again, sorry for that!” Chiumiento said. “Football is like this, but maybe we'll speak about this again at the end of next season and I [will have changed] people's ideas.”
Rennie had newly hired assistant Paul Ritchie with him at practice on Thursday, but he is still searching for his second assistant.
“I've spoken to a few people who I think could be good candidates,” Rennie said. “It will just take a few weeks probably, but not too much longer than that.
“We've got until January until we start preseason, so we've got a little bit of time.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.