VANCOUVER, BC – And we’re back.
The break is over and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are back at training ahead of Saturday’s date with New York Red Bulls (4 p.m. PT on TSN2). Here are some news and notes from Monday’s session.
BACK TO BUSINESS
The ‘Caps were given last week off after a historic road win over LA Galaxy and Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said the short break “has done everyone a world of good.”
But now, it’s back to business.
After 16 matches, Whitecaps FC sit second in the Western Conference with 26 points. That’s one more point than they had at this time last year. From there, however, Vancouver won just one of their next 10 matches – something they don’t intend to let happen again.
“We can’t take our foot off the gas,” left back Jordan Harvey told reporters. “We’ve been in this position last year and we didn’t do so well after this. It’s very important that we maintain our focus and concentration and continue doing what we’re doing. Defensively on the road, we’re very sound and we are creating chances. So if we can continue this, keeping what happened last year in the back of our mind, I think we’ll be fine.”
“I get reminded all the times of the summer months and things like that,” added Robinson. “I also get reminded that we hadn’t beat LA – fortunately enough we did. Records are there to be broken and things are there to change. We know we have to come back after this little break re-energized and refreshed and we are.”
ROBBO’S RETURN TO NEW YORK
Saturday’s match will be the first time Robinson has returned to New York as a head coach. And the Welshman, who ended his playing career and got his start in coaching with the Red Bulls, admitted that it would be a “very special game.”
“I had two fantastic years at New York,” Robinson said. “It’s a fantastic organization with good people. There has been quite a bit of change over the last period of time but I’ve still got very good friends there and the supporters are always good. It’ll be a tough game. Jesse’s got them firing. They’re going through a tricky patch now, but they’re playing well and they’ve got good players.”
While most players were given last week off, that wasn’t the case for Russell Teibert and Darren Mattocks. Mattocks started and played 75 minutes for Jamaica in a 1-0 loss to Uruguay at the Copa America, while Teibert scored in Canada’s 2-0 World Cup qualifier win over Dominica.
“I spoke to him and congratulated him,” Robinson said of Teibert's first international goal. “He needs to do that more for Canada and he needs to do that more for us as well. And I think he will. But it’s nice to see Russ back with the national team because it’s firmly where he belongs.”
And on Mattocks:
“I thought he worked very hard for 75 minutes and I thought he was unlucky,” Robinson said. “He had a very good chance and I think he probably would have liked that one back. As we talk about at the highest levels, it’s fine lines. Unfortunately he didn’t take his chance and Uruguay took theirs. [It was a] great experience for Jamaica though to play against a top team like Uruguay.”
GOLD CUP CALL-UPS
Speaking of international duty, five Whitecaps FC players have been named to the provisional rosters for next month’s Gold Cup. That includes Costa Rican centre back Kendall Waston, who has played every minute of every match for the ‘Caps in regular season action this season.
Robinson said on Monday that he “wouldn’t swap Kendall for anyone in this league,” but he also won’t hold him back if Costa Rica comes calling.
“I haven’t answered my phone,” Robinson joked in response to a question about Waston’s potential call-up. “I want to be fair to my players. You dream about playing professional football and you dream about playing for your country. For me being selfish, I could want to keep my players back but that’s not being fair to them. I’ll let them go and I’ll give someone else an opportunity.”
The final rosters will be announced next Tuesday, June 23.
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