Barry Robson will finally have the chance to debut in front of his home crowd, and it's quite the occasion to boot, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC welcome defending MLS Cup winners LA Galaxy (7 p.m. PT, TSN2/RDS in Canada, TEAM 1410 radio, MLS LIVE in the United States).
“I hope I’ll be received OK,” Robson told reporters after a training session this week at BC Place. “I don’t think anybody has seen that much of me. Obviously, they’ve seen it on [TV], but hopefully, I can do a good job and we can get a good result and then move on from there.”
While Designated Players have been a big topic this month in Vancouver with Robson’s debut and the arrival of fellow Scottish international Kenny Miller this week – they’re also a big talking point ahead of this match, which will feature three of the league’s most prominent DPs: David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan.
Robson referenced Keane’s initial settling in period to illustrate just how high the level of competition is getting in MLS.
“I know Robbie struggled a bit when he first came in because he’s a top, top player,” Robson said. “So it’s not easy to adapt, but he’s adapting now and looks the part. Obviously, Beckham is a top, top player. Landon Donovan as well is a terrific talent.
“These guys are what they are and they’ll be difficult to stop. But if we’re prepared and organized we can give them a real good game and a real good go at it and see how we get on.”
The last time Vancouver took on the Galaxy, they were on the wrong end of a 3-0 thrashing – the hope is the team can use that difficult day out and a sold-out BC Place to bring about a different outcome this time around.
“We just have to make sure that we learn from that game we played them before,” head coach Martin Rennie said. “[LA] played well that night, but there were certain disappointing parts from our perspective, so we need to make sure we address those and get those right.
“Second of all, we need to take advantage of being at home and show a lot of energy and passion for the game.”
No Rochat or Hassli, Miller unlikely
Alain Rochat, the natural fullback who in recent weeks has slotted in as a defensive midfielder, will miss the match through suspension for caution accumulation.
Eric Hassli will miss out after landing awkwardly on his ankle while going up for a late header in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Chicago Fire. The club is calling the injury a strain.
Miller, who the club unveiled as the third DP on the books this week, will likely be left out, with Rennie suggesting he could be on the bench for Sunday’s match against San Jose Earthquakes.
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.