Carl Robinson clapping - BC Place - wide
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

New personnel gives 'Caps 'flexibility in formations'

VANCOUVER, BC – Will Vancouver Whitecaps FC play with a back three in 2018?

It’s certainly a consideration, Carl Robinson told reporters on Wednesday morning in his first media availability of the new year. Robinson’s preferred formation during his tenure as head coach has been the 4-2-3-1, though the ‘Caps also enjoyed a fruitful spell with a 4-1-4-1 this past season.

However, as Robinson noted on Wednesday, more and more teams are finding success with a back three in modern day football and that’s something he said the ‘Caps will look at in the preseason, which officially gets going in less than two weeks’ time.

“The personnel I’m going to bring in you will see will have different characteristics than the guys leaving, which will allow us to have flexibility in formations,” Robinson told reporters.

The ‘Caps have already acquired six new players this offseason, including strikers Kei Kamara and Anthony Blondell as well as Canadian centre back Doneil Henry, which could potentially suit a back three formation with two strikers.

“Whether we play two up front, we’ve got Yordy behind, we’ve got Nico behind, we’ve got Techera that can play inside, Phonzie will step up his minutes this year as well,” Robinson said.

“So we’ve got options, which is good.”

Another variation the ‘Caps could experiment with is a 3-4-3 of sorts, with one central forward and two attacking players beneath him, not unlike the system Chelsea FC used on route to their 2016-17 English Premier League title. 

In fact, nearly every single English Premier League club deployed a back three at some point during the 2016-17 campaign. So too did the Costa Rican national team – and Whitecaps FC centre back/captain Kendall Waston was a big part of it. 

It's clearly a trend that has gained all sorts of popularity in recent years.

Whether or not the 'Caps follow suit remains to be seen. Either way, Robinson said he and his staff will look at certain tactical adjustments to get the most out of his new group of players.

“It’s all about personnel,” Robinson said. “You put your players in the best positions that will make them successful.”

Whitecaps FC open the preseason on January 22 before heading off to Hawaii on January 31 for a 10-day camp featuring their first preseason fixtures of 2018. The ‘Caps will host Canadian rivals Montreal Impact in their regular season opener on March 4 at BC Place.

Tickets for the season opener are now available as part of the 2018 Home Opener Pack, which includes two tickets and a scarf for only $70. Season ticket memberships are also available, starting at only $44 per month. Single match tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, February 9 at whitecapsfc.com/tickets