The ‘Caps met with the media on Monday at YVR ahead of Wednesday’s rematch with FC Dallas (6 p.m. PT on TSN). A number of topics were discussed, including the status of captain Pedro Morales, Kendall Waston’s availability for Wednesday, and more.
See below for a summary.
After last week’s playoff-clinching draw with Dallas, head coach Carl Robinson revealed that several players had been dealing with injuries. The wounded list included attacking midfielders Pedro Morales (hamstring) and Nicolas Mezquida (hamstring) and Robinson confirmed that neither player made the trip to Texas.
On Morales, Robinson said:
“I think it will be touch and go whether he gets himself back for the Houston game if I’m being brutally honest. When we play in the playoffs, how many minutes we can get out of him is another question. But I’m hoping, and it’s 50-50 at the moment, that we can get him back in some capacity for the playoffs.”
Morales has started just two of Vancouver’s last nine MLS matches due to calf/hamstring injuries.
To make matters more challenging, fellow attacking players Mauro Rosales (adductor) and Cristian Techera (hamstring) picked up knocks in last week’s match and are listed as questionable – as is centre back Pa-Modou Kah (groin).
“Everyone that’s able to walk is going,” Robinson told reporters. “We’ve probably got 16 or 17 healthy bodies leaving here.”
In addition to those sidelined with injuries, the ‘Caps have a number of players currently on international duty. Kendall Waston is away with Costa Rica, Darren Mattocks with Jamaica, and Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, and Sam Adekugbe with Canada.
All of them have games on Tuesday.
Waston didn’t appear in Costa Rica’s first match – a 1-0 loss to South Africa on Thursday. But it’s possible he could feature in Tuesday’s match against the U.S. in New Jersey.
So would that rule him out for Wednesday?
“We’ll assess it,” Robinson said. “He wants to play. He’s such a great kid and he wants to play for us all the time … he’ll probably tell me he’s fine. If I play him and it helps us get a result, then it’s a great decision. If I play him and he picks up an injury, you’ll probably call me crazy.”
Meanwhile, Robinson said he inquired about bringing back the Canadians for Wednesday’s match, but was informed they’re expected to be involved on Tuesday against Ghana.
“The feedback we got is that they were going to be involved against Ghana, which is great,” Robinson said. “I want my young players to play and experience that. So I hope they play.”
REMATCH IN TEXAS
Considering all the absences, as well as the fact that Whitecaps FC have already clinched a playoff spot and are 0W-6L-0D in Frisco (including playoffs), the ‘Caps were asked if they’d be playing for a draw on Wednesday.
They weren’t having it.
“Having made the playoffs already, I think our goal now is to get a couple wins,” said new father Jordan Harvey. “I don’t think we want to just coast into the playoffs. We want to build some momentum. Going in, we’re without a doubt going for three points. Are we disappointed if we get a draw? Probably not. But the goal is to get three points and build momentum.”
Along those lines, goalkeeper David Ousted pointed to Vancouver’s road win over LA earlier this season, which was the first time they had beaten LA in California. It also ended LA’s 29-match home unbeaten run.
“We were talking about when we went into LA and we were 0 for something there,” Ousted said. “This might be the season where we cancel all the 0s.”
Over the weekend, Wales qualified for their first-ever Euro Championship.
That was music to the ears of Robinson, a Welshman who represented his country 52 times.
“Absolutely brilliant,” Robinson said. “I did an interview in the UK and I couldn’t stop smiling … I’m delighted for them. I think it’s important not to forget where they came from. Eight years ago, John Toshack took charge and decided to move the old guard on a little bit. He wound a few people up because the seasoned vets were playing but he decided to go a different route and give the Bales, the Ramseys, the Gunters opportunities to play. He got called mad at the time. From that four-year period, Gary Speed continued that process and ‘Cookie’ has tried to carry that on. He has and we’ve managed to get over the line. And I say ‘we’ because I’m a proud Welshman. It’s a fantastic achievement for everybody involved with Wales … now let’s not go there and make up the numbers. Let’s go there and have a go.”
The last time Wales appeared in a major tournament was 1958.
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