Strike partner

VANCOUVER, BC – After hinting at the possibility of sticking around with Vancouver Whitecaps FC for Wednesday's match with Seattle Sounders FC, it turns out striker Darren Mattocks has opted to link up with the Jamaican national team for World Cup qualifiers as initially planned.

Following a strong individual performance against Portland Timbers in Sunday's 2-2 draw, the speedster told reporters he would contact the Jamaica Football Federation and discuss the possibility of delaying his link up with the national team, which doesn't face the United States until Friday, as Vancouver hopes to hold on to their slim chances of making the postseason.

“We'd have liked to have had him, because he could have built on that performance,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters following a training session at the University of British Columbia on Monday. “At times he's been unfortunate because sometimes he goes away for nearly two weeks, doesn't play, probably doesn't train and then he's out of the team again.

“So that's frustrating, but that's part of having players who play for their national teams.”

Mattocks' departure, while expected, still leaves a hole in Vancouver's attacking unit, meaning Rennie will have to figure out who partners the league's second leading scorer, Camilo, up top.

The natural choice would be Kenny Miller, but the Scottish Designated Player continues to battle a groin issue suffered in Vancouver's 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Sept. 21. That injury has kept Miller out of two consecutive games.

There had been hopes the 33-year-old would return for Sunday's match against Portland, but the player had to leave the team's final training session before that game early.

"I don't know that it's serious,” Rennie said of Miller's injury. “It's just that a groin strain is going to take at least a few days to get better and we were hoping it would be better for the game [Sunday]. He pulled up again in training the day before the game I think.

“So I think that was the point where obviously he couldn't play. But we're not sure if he'll be able to play this game [against Seattle] or not and obviously if he can he's a big addition for us. We'll have to wait and see.”

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