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Robinson praises Cole Seiler for 'mature performance' in MLS debut

HOUSTON, TX – An English Premier League opponent, UFC lesson, and MLS debut.

That’s what this past week looked like for Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Cole Seiler, who made his first MLS appearance in Saturday night’s scoreless draw with Houston Dynamo.

“He showed a very mature performance and I’m pleased for him because all the guys love him in the locker room,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “He doesn’t complain. He’s never in my office asking why he’s not playing … he’s just got on with business.”

Saturday’s debut capped off an eventful five days for the rookie, who got the thrill of playing against Crystal Palace FC on Tuesday before exchanging some tricks of the trade with UFC stars Paige VanZant, Carlos Condit, and Kajan Johnson, who are in town promoting next month’s event.

Fortunately, Seiler didn’t need to pull out any MMA on Saturday in Houston.

He did, however, have to fight some adversity.

In the eighth minute, Seiler played a little bit of a wayward pass that was intercepted by the Dynamo in midfield, eventually leading to a great opportunity from Andrew Wenger. No harm was done, however, as Wenger fired his strike over the goal.

“It’s weird because usually you’re waiting for a good pass to unsettle your nerves but mine was more of a huge mistake and they almost scored,” said Seiler, a polite and respectful South Carolina native. “But once they didn’t score it was a huge relief.” 

Seiler got better as the game went on.

A natural centre back who played at right back on Saturday, he even set up two of Vancouver’s best chances on the night with a pair of inviting crosses to Masato Kudo and Nicolas Mezquida.

“He’s got a great mentality,” Robinson told reporters. “Mentality in football is 90 per cent of the job, believe me, and I think he was composed. Yeah, he made mistakes, but I’ll tell you the best players on the field today made mistakes. It was an enjoyable performance.”

Although this was Seiler’s first MLS appearance, he’s had no shortage of game action this season.

The 22-year-old American, who the ‘Caps selected at 16th overall in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, has played 10 games with WFC2 in the United Soccer League, as well as making an appearance against Ottawa Fury FC in the Amway Canadian Championship.

Now, he’s got a taste of the next level, too.

“He’s absolutely shattered in there, he can hardly talk, which shows how much effort he put in the game,” Robinson said. “He should be pleased.”

BY THE NUMBERS

Seiler finished the match with 70 touches, four clearances, two tackles, and two chances created, which was among the top five ‘Caps in each category. 

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