VANCOUVER, BC – When it comes to building their squad in recent seasons, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC have adopted very different philosophies and it all makes for a very interesting season-opening meeting on Saturday between the Canadian rivals (3 p.m. PT; TSN and TSN 1410).
While Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson opted for the “slow build” route, shunning big-name signings to put together a young squad featuring talented South Americans and some of the best Homegrown prospects in Canadian soccer, Toronto have spent big and spent hard.
Robinson is a firm believer that money doesn't guarantee success. But as Vancouver chase their third playoff appearance in the past four seasons, he is delighted with the path the 'Caps have chosen to go down and is relishing his young squad facing off with Toronto's “big boys.”
"Each club and each manager and each organization have their own philosophies of doing things," Robinson told reporters this week. "Mine, as you all know, is I want to play young players, I want to give young players opportunities and I want to build something."
"My young boys will be ready, without a doubt," he added. "They'll be ready to meet the challenge full-on and we'll show them what we can do."
Robinson knows all about Toronto's philosophy about building rosters over the years. The Welshman spent three and a half seasons at the club when he first made the move to MLS in 2007, and although he wouldn't be drawn as to what approach is best suited to lifting the MLS Cup, he knows which philosophy isn't for him.
"I was part of the other organization, as a player, when there was a turnover of about 100 players," Robinson said. "It's not actually nice from a player perspective with their families. It's also you never get any continuity in the organization, so that won't happen here."
"We'll build. I can only focus on what I'm going to do at this club, but we're in a good place. We're starting to build something that hopefully one day will be very special. We showed our potential last year, but we've still got a lot of work to do."
Saturday's clash between the Canadian giants will be the third opening-day meeting between the two sides. Vancouver's Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert started that first game as an 18-year-old back in 2011, and looks set to get the nod again this weekend.
He's been around the league long enough to not get fazed by big names in the opposition lineup, and feels that TFC's spending power doesn't put them on another planet once the action hits the pitch.
"Every team in this league has stars; we do too," Teibert stated. "It'll be a matchup with 11 men, all humans, so it's going to be a great game. It is two different philosophies. We'll see come Saturday who the better team is on the day, and may the best team win."
Participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver! The 2015 Whitecaps FC season kicks off on March 7 versus Toronto FC at BC Place. Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are now on sale. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, Student Half-Season Tickets, and a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket. For more information on 2015 Season Tickets, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.