Bola - Isco - Costa Rica- Spain

Get the latest 'Caps headlines from a footy-filled long weekend

Just coming up for air after the long weekend? We’ve got you covered. Here are the latest Vancouver Whitecaps FC headlines.  

ALOHA!

From rainy Wales to sunny Hawaii.

It was announced on Monday that Whitecaps FC will participate in the first annual Pacific Rim Cup from February 8-10 in Honolulu as part of their 2018 preseason training camp. The ‘Caps will face Japanese side Iwaki FC and either Columbus Crew SC or Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo from the J1 League in the single-elimination tournament.

Last year in Wales, the ‘Caps kicked off the preseason with matches against the development sides of Cardiff City FC, Oxford United FC, and Bristol City FC. It was a preseason designed to have them ready for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, in which they defeated New York Red Bulls over the two legs.

This year, with no Champions League matches, the focus will be squarely on getting off to a fast start in league play. 

“What do I regret about this year? Maybe picking up one point out of the first [three] games,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said last week. “I focused on the Champions League, getting past Red Bulls and Tigres and I probably lost track of the first three MLS games. I was OK with it, because we achieved a goal. But picking up one point out the first three games probably came back to bite us on the backside later in the season.”

MARINOVIC SAVES THE DAY

It was the biggest save of Stefan Marinovic’s career.

In the seventh minute of Friday’s World Cup playoff vs. Peru, Marinovic acrobatically swatted a ball off the goalline to keep the score level. And that’s how it remains heading into the decisive second leg on Wednesday night in Lima.

“I was a bit gutted I didn’t deal with it earlier, but I had to do what I had to do to get back to the line,” Marinovic was quoted as saying on stuff.co.nz.

The ‘Caps keeper has appeared in all 10 of New Zealand’s World Cup qualifiers so far. 

TICOS HUMBLED

Costa Rica are already headed to the 2018 FIFA World Cup thanks to Kendall Waston’s heroics last month, but they were dealt a little bit of a wake-up call on Saturday with a 5-0 defeat to Spain in a friendly held in Malaga.

David Silva led the way for Spain with a pair of second half goals, while Jordi Alba, Alvaro Morata, and Andres Iniesta also found the back of the net.

Waston and Christian Bolaños both started for Costa Rica. Waston was a shown a yellow card in the 62nd minute for a tackle that forced Isco out of the match. The ‘Caps centre back, who has since apologized for the tackle, appeared to first make contact with the ball before inadvertently clipping the Real Madrid midfielder with his trailing leg.

“I apologize and I would like to do so personally,” Waston was quoted as saying in MARCA. “It was a very fast play. They played the ball in deep and because of how fast he is, I thought it was best to go to ground and sweep the ball from across him. In fact, I took the ball with my left leg, but due to the speed of the action, I hit him with my right leg.”

“What I want to make clear is that I did not tackle him with bad intentions. Isco is one of my favourite players. He's world class.”

YOUNG GUNS

Seventeen-year-old midfielder Julia Grosso (Vancouver, BC) and 16-year-old forwards Jordyn Huitema (Chilliwack, BC) and Jayde Riviere (Markham, Ontario) all appeared for the Canadian women’s national team on Sunday in a 3-1 defeat to top-ranked USA.

It was the senior international debut for both Grosso and Riviere, and the sixth cap for Huitema.

All three players are currently plying their trade with the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite Regional EXCEL Super Centre, in partnership with BC Soccer.

“The standards are the same,” said Canada head coach John Herdman said of the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite program. “It’s fantastic Jordyn’s getting what Alphonso Davies is getting in the centres, just with our curriculum, our guidance, and our philosophy to make sure that when she comes into the national team it feels like a second home.”