VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Darren Mattocks has been clocking up the air miles these past two months. Road trips with the 'Caps to New England and Colorado were interspersed with trips to Copa America and the Gold Cup with Jamaica.
Mattocks excelled once again for the Reggae Boyz in that recent Gold Cup run, scoring the opener in Jamaica's shock semifinal win over the U.S., and grabbing their only goal in their 3-1 final loss to Mexico.
Those goals took his tally to 10 in 29 appearances for his country and there's certainly something about pulling on a Jamaica jersey that brings the best out of Mattocks.
“I'm not sure [what it is],” Mattocks told reporters at training on Monday. “I just like representing my country I guess. I think I do it to the best of my abilities. It doesn't change a thing when I play for Vancouver. When I touch the pitch, I give my all.”
Now back with his club, life's not going to get any less hectic for Mattocks with the ‘Caps just completing their first of eight games, over three competitions, in a busy month of August.
The Jamaican has been primarily used in a substitute's role this season in Vancouver, featuring in 17 games but starting only seven, as coach Carl Robinson employs a one-striker formation. But Mattocks is hoping that his performances on the international stage will not only secure him more minutes with Vancouver, but also see him transfer his goalscoring form with his country to club level.
“Most definitely,” Mattocks readily admits. “Everyone wants more playing time. The only way you're going to score goals is if you get playing time. We've got a large squad with a lot of quality players. You just need to make sure that when you get that chance, you take it. Once you start getting minutes under your belt, you get more comfortable. Then the goals will come.”
Mattocks has three goals to his name for the year and Vancouver's jam-packed schedule in the coming weeks should see him get a lot more minutes and opportunities to add to that tally.
Despite having been away for so long with Jamaica, Mattocks feels ready to go with the 'Caps again and doesn't think it will take much time to readjust back to the domestic game.
“No, not really,” Mattocks feels. “I play with quality players in Jamaica and in Vancouver, so the transition is much easier. You've just got to focus on what you can do and let the rest take care of itself.”
Having come on for the final 11 minutes in Vancouver's 3-0 trouncing of Seattle this past weekend, the Jamaican looks set to play a prominent role in Vancouver's first-ever CONCACAF Champions League game when the Sounders head to BC Place on Wednesday evening.
It's another chance to shine on the international stage for Mattocks and despite their busy schedule ahead, the striker feels Vancouver can excel on all fronts.
“Eight games in August, that's going to be fun,” Mattocks said. “It's three different competitions, but we're going to take it one game at a time, one competition at a time because we want to win everything this season.”
“We're on the right path but there's still so much more that we need to do,” he added. “So we need to stay humble and we need to keep working hard because now comes a time that's going to test the depth of the squad. We're up for the challenge.”
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