VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC returned to training on Tuesday following a 4-0 loss to D.C. United. Here are some news and notes from the day.
BACK TO WORK
The ‘Caps weren’t pulling any punches about their performance on the weekend.
It was Vancouver’s first loss in four games, and they were without several key players, but head coach Carl Robinson reiterated that his side was “second best.” Midfielder Andrew Jacobson called it a “poor, poor game.” But now it’s behind them, and Robinson said that the reaction from the group on Tuesday was “spot on.”
“We don’t like it, but we have to accept it,” Robinson told reporters. “We move on. The boys’ attitude in training today was a different class.”
“Everyone really pushed it,” added Jacobson. “We’re hungry for the next game.”
The ‘Caps were missing several key players due to injury this past weekend, including midfielders Pedro Morales (left hip flexor strain), Christian Bolaños (left quad contusion) and Nicolas Mezquida (right knee sprain) and striker Octavio Rivero (right hip flexor strain).
The good news is that all four of them were on the field on Tuesday.
The bad news: Rivero was the only one who trained with the full group. The others did some individual work and jogging on the sidelines.
“When you have key players back on the training ground, it gives everyone a lift,” Robinson said. “And they are important players to us. We’ll take them day by day. We won’t put them at risk. If it means they have to miss another game and get them right for the Dallas home game, then that’s what will happen.”
One player who will almost certainly be back in the lineup this weekend is midfielder Matias Laba, who is available for selection after serving his one-match suspension due to a red card.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a visit to Real Salt Lake on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium (7 p.m. PT on TSN1 and TSN 1040 radio). Real Salt Lake are the only unbeaten team remaining in MLS.
In fact, Robinson called them “the best team in the league” at the moment.
A big part of their success has been the play of Joao Plata. The 5-foot-2 forward already has four goals and three assists – he has contributed towards seven of RSL’s nine goals.
Canadian right back Fraser Aird is well aware of Plata’s abilities, despite having never played against him. Aird, who used to be a Toronto FC season ticket holder, remembers watching Plata back in 2011-12 when the Ecuadorian played for TFC.
“I remember watching him a few times. I know who he is,” Aird said. “He’s probably one of the only players I know on Salt Lake at this point because I saw him playing. Very good player. All the wingers and attacking players in this league are very good. But we’ll be going out to stop them.”
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