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Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Training report: 'Caps begin preparations for Saturday's match vs. league-leading Dallas

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC returned to training today at UBC ahead of Saturday’s match vs. FC Dallas (7:30 p.m. PT at BC Place – tickets still available).

Here are some news and notes from the day.

MEZQUIDA DRAWS PRAISE

The ‘Caps didn’t get the result they wanted this past weekend at RSL, but head coach Carl Robinson said he was pleased with the response from his group after a 4-0 loss to D.C. United.

“I can’t stand here and say everything was perfect, because it wasn’t,” Robinson said. “But the way we played after D.C. was what we’re about … if we play like we did on Saturday, we’ll be fine.”

Robinson also praised midfielder Nicolas Mezquida for his role in linking the midfield to the attack.

“I thought he was excellent again on Saturday,” Robinson said. “He was disappointed he didn’t score … but he should be really proud of his performance.”

HOME SWEET HOME

After back-to-back losses on the road, the ‘Caps are set to play four of their next five matches at BC Place. Some tough opponents are coming to town, so they’re not expecting a walk in the park, but this might be just what the doctor ordered for a Whitecaps FC side looking to get on a run.  

“We love coming home,” said Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted. “But it needs to show. It needs to show that we’re passionate to play in front of those fans and hopefully it starts Saturday.”

FINDING HIS CONFIDENCE

Kekuta Manneh admitted on Tuesday that his “confidence has been down a bit” so far this season.

The 21-year-old is coming off a season in which he set new career-highs in games played, starts, goals, and assists. But it ended on a bitter note, as Manneh limped off the field with an ankle injury in Vancouver’s playoff defeat to Portland, which also forced him to miss part of the preseason. 

“For me, it’s just getting comfortable out there and getting my confidence back up,” Manneh told reporters. “The coaching staff has been great with that and the players have been helping me with that as well. All the attacking players are encouraging each other. We know we can do it. Teams go in slumps like this where goals aren’t coming, but like I said we stick together and help each other out.”

INJURY UPDATES

Robinson provided an injury update on both Blas Pérez and Pedro Morales on Tuesday. Pérez missed Saturday’s match at Real Salt Lake with some tightness in his hamstring, while Morales has now missed back-to-back matches with a hip strain.  

Pérez declared himself fit in an interview with media following training, which wasn’t a surprise to Robinson. 

“He would say he’d be available even if he was hopping around on one leg," Robinson joked with reporters. "He wants to play. We know that … He trained today so I’m hoping he’ll be available.”

And on Morales, Robinson said:

“I’m not sure. He didn’t join in with us today. Maybe. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I won’t take any risks. We have got three games in a week. Ideally, I’d like him to play all the games. That’s probably not possible. In one of the games? Maybe. But we’ll see how he is.”

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