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Rivero reflects on his first season in MLS

VANCOUVER, BC – It’s been a roller coaster year for Octavio Rivero.

The 23-year-old Uruguayan made the move to Vancouver in January to join Whitecaps FC – his first experience playing outside his native South America.

And then, as Carl Robinson put it, “he started like a house on fire.”

Rivero scored five goals in his first six matches and was named the MLS Player of the Month for March. But his production cooled off from there.

The 6-foot-2 striker finished the season with 10 goals, a team-high, and added three assists. Though he continued to play a big part in Vancouver’s success – the ‘Caps finished the season second in the Western Conference and third in Major League Soccer – Rivero was never able to rekindle his early-season form.

So how does he look back on the season?

Find out below.

Is your first season in MLS what you expected?

“The season went well but the end was not what I expected at all. It was a disappointment.”

What’s your message to the fans?

“Personally, I believe I didn't achieve all I hoped for. Principally, I think I’m my first critic. But it’s important to keep working hard and work together more as a team.”

What did you enjoy most about the season?  

“I enjoyed playing with such great players. I see the potential we have at training and shown during some of the games we have played so I can see ourselves winning the Cup. I enjoy being part of that team.”

How would you describe the quality of play in MLS?

“It is a very competitive league and the atmosphere is great. It’s not a huge difference [to Uruguay or Chile] in terms of physicality or the quality of the game.”

Would you like to play with a second striker up top?

“In Uruguay and in Chile, I used to play as a lone striker up front … we just have to work together as a team. We defend well but when we move forward we tend to lose the ball. I think it’s important to look into that and work together.”

What are your goals for next season?

“For the team, we want to reach the playoffs again and win the MLS Cup. Personally, I would like to adapt better to the team, maybe I didn’t adapt well enough this year, and in general, there are always things to learn and do better.”

What are some of the things you learned this season?

“In life, you’ll always learn new things every day. Every day, I keep maturing as a person and a player. I’ve learned the kind of respect established within Canadian society, how they treat each other, which I think is very important and I’ve learned a lot from it. There are always things to improve, in football and in life. I hope to keep growing and doing things better.”

How did you like living in Vancouver?

“I think the respect people show here is incredible. I think it’s the pillar of everything. I’m very content and happy living here and to be able to share this experience with my family. I’m very grateful to the city of Vancouver.

How about the atmosphere at BC Place?

“People were always super supportive of the team. You could always feel the home advantage because people were there to support us. That was great for the team. It gives all of us an extra push of confidence to know that we have the fans behind us. I hope next year the crowd will be even bigger.”

Does losing in the playoffs this year motivate you even more for next season?

“Yes, of course. It was painful for all of us, but you can always learn from these situations. We need to learn to consistently, week in week out, play our best game. I remember we had an incredible game against LA Galaxy here at home, they are a fantastic team and the champions last year, but we did really well. We need to play all our games like we played that game. I think we’ll be ready.” 

Editor's note: whitecapsfc.com conducted this interview through a translator. 

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