VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC hit the pitch for a spirited training session on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s regular season finale vs. Portland Timbers – a match that will determine Portland’s playoff fate as well as this year’s Cascadia Cup winner (1 p.m. PT at BC Place – tickets still available). Here are some news and notes from the day.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH
Think this team doesn’t have any fight left in them? Think again.
The news of the day was a minor altercation between David Ousted and Pedro Morales, two of the team’s most experienced players. Head coach Carl Robinson said he didn’t actually see what happened, but that he had no issue with the notion of players demanding more of each other on the pitch.
“I like it,” Robinson told reporters. “Sometimes from a player perspective, it’s good that a player tells someone if they’re not happy. I’m not into all these whispering behind backs and all that nonsense that happens in school playgrounds and stuff. If you’ve got a problem, just tell them. I think my two senior players did it today, they dealt with it, and they trained very well afterwards, which is the key.”
And here’s what Ousted had to say on the subject, agreeing with a reporter that perhaps this sort of thing should have happened more earlier in the season.
“That’s partly on us as leaders for not doing that enough,” he said. “That’s partly on me as well for not doing that enough. Like I said, we need to show these emotions. We need to show the fans that we’re not just here to go down with another loss, especially not with Portland coming in.”
Speaking of Portland, they come to BC Place on Sunday knowing a win would send them to the playoffs. That, of course, gives Vancouver the opportunity to play the role of spoilers against the team that ended their season in the Western Conference Semifinal a year ago.
“There is a little bit of a silver lining there,” said Jordan Harvey, who called last year’s playoff defeat one of the toughest losses of his career. “It’s a rivalry game, the Cascadia implications, them trying to make the playoffs, there is still a lot on it. And just some pride from our guys. We had a tough season. And this is a game where we have a little bit of redemption.”
DEAN NOT QUITE READY FOR GAME ACTION
After suffering back-to-back long-term injuries, Christian Dean was included in Robinson’s 18-man gameday roster for the first time this season on Sunday in San Jose. So is there a chance Vancouver’s Humanitarian of the Year could get some minutes this weekend?
Not so fast.
Robinson said he included Dean in the 18 against San Jose because “he’s deserved of that role within the team” but also because the team was short on numbers due to the WFC2 playoff match. Ultimately, after the season Dean has gone through, there’s no point risking him now.
“He wasn’t ready to play and he probably won’t be ready to play on Sunday,” Robinson said.