HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY – Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson fielded questions from media on a conference call today ahead of Saturday’s match with New England Revolution (4:30 p.m. PT kickoff on TSN2 and TSN 1040).
See below for a summary of the call.
On the status of Pedro Morales (who missed the New York match with a calf injury):
“He trained today for the first time fully. There’s a chance he could be available for the weekend. He hadn’t trained properly since last Tuesday. And he wasn’t quite right for [New York]. We’re getting him moving. Today, he got through it so we’ll see how he is later. There’s a possibility he could be involved in the 18 on Saturday.”
On the bug that was going around the team:
“It’s fine. No one else seems to have picked it up. I think we’ve isolated it. David Ousted was the main concern prior to Saturday’s game. He wanted to play and I gave him no choice but to play, if I’m honest. I said he had to play and I’m glad he did, because he was obviously outstanding. We’re lucky we’ve contained that and no one else is affected by illness."
On whether Mauro Rosales was affected by the bug:
“As funny as it is, we arranged for sandwiches for the guys when they got off the bus after we flew into New York. Mauro picked a tuna sandwich for some reason. And 24 hours later, he was sick ... so I had to make that decision on him. He had no energy. He had to be on the bench because I didn’t have 18 fit players. But he’s fine, he’s trained the last two days, he’s looked good and he’s available for the weekend."
On losing Kendall Waston and Gershon Koffie to suspension:
“It’s a big loss. They’ve been excellent the last couple of games especially. They’re big players, we know that, but it will give other players opportunities. We’ve got Timmy Parker who’s with us on the trip, we’ve got Diego who’s coming back to fitness now – it could be a little bit too early for Diego if we don’t want to put him in that risky situation. We could also bring Christian Dean in that centre back area. As for midfield players, Deybi Flores and Russell Teibert come into the equation. Rusty’s got an ankle issue, which we’re hoping he shakes off, but if he’s not ready to go Deybi will slot in there.”
On the Sacha Kljestan red card:
“I think Kendall’s picked up a fine from the league for going over too easy. Was he kicked? Yes. Did he go over to easy? Yes. Was there an elbow thrown at him? Yes. I said to the group, we don’t do that. In that moment, I think Sacha tried to elbow him, kick him, knee him, and everything like that. It was just a culmination of things. But he’s took the punishment, he’s accepted it, and we move on.”
On facing New England Revolution:
“They’re a very good team, they’re very physical, and they’re very strong at home. They’ve had one or two indifferent results recently, but that’s the way the league is. Their front three of Bunbury, Davies, and Agudelo with Lee Nguyen and Fagundez underneath is arguably one of the strongest in MLS. We’ve got to be on top form with that, but if we’re organized and disciplined then we’ll get our opportunities at the other end of the field. Then we’re very much confident we can go there and get a result.”
On staying out East after the New York game rather than coming back to Vancouver:
“It’s trying to find the right balance. There isn’t a right way and wrong way of doing it. This is what I’ve said to the group. We could have flown back to Vancouver on the Sunday, had Monday to recover, trained on Tuesday, I would have given them Wednesday off, then we would have flown back out East on the Thursday. I thought that was a little bit too much traveling for them, so I made the decision to stay out East and travel up to Boston on Thursday … we’ve trained hard. We’ve only trained for probably an hour and 15 minutes on both of the days. They got to go out and do some activities together. We’re going to go and watch a New York Red Bulls game vs. Salt Lake tonight, because obviously Salt Lake are in our conference and I think it’s important that players watch games in MLS. They went as a team event to watch the Yankees play the Phillies the other day, which was an experience for some of them. We’re just using it as a positive that we get to spend time with each other and bond a little bit."
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