VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC hit the training pitch on Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s match against New England Revolution (2:30 p.m. PT on TSN and TSN 1040 – limited tickets available). Here are some news and notes from the day.
WASTON’S LOOMING ABSENCE
Saturday’s match will be Kendall Waston’s final outing with Whitecaps FC before joining the Costa Rican national team ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The deadline for clubs around the world to release their players was actually May 21, though Major League Soccer was granted an exemption until May 28 since it plays through the summer. At any rate, Waston will miss at least three of Vancouver’s matches, and more than that if Costa Rica advances to the knockout round.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said the club will look at “all avenues” to deal with the Costa Rican’s absence in the middle of defence.
“We’ll look at different players in that area,” Robinson said. “Obviously we’ve got [Aaron Maund], who started the season and did very well. We’ve got [Doneil Henry] out on loan at the moment, he’s played three good games for Ottawa, and Doneil will be back. [Efrain Juarez] can play centre back, as well as [Marcel de Jong] and Aly Ghazal. So we’ve got options.”
Robinson said Henry is expected back from loan next week. In the three games he has played thus far, Ottawa has yet to concede a goal.
“Hopefully Doneil will play on the weekend and be back fit and ready to step in,” Robinson said.
MUTCH ‘NOT FAR AWAY’ FROM RETURN
After missing four matches with a hamstring strain, Jordon Mutch is inching closer to a return.
The Crystal Palace FC loanee isn’t quite back to full training, though he did some technical work on Tuesday and participated in warmup with the group. But Robinson said there’s a chance he could be involved on the weekend, depending on how he progresses during the week.
“He’s a very good player,” Robinson said. “We just have to make sure that we give him the right resiliency to make sure he doesn’t break down again. Because these little, minor hamstring problems are a pain in the backside. We just have to make sure that when he comes back this time, hopefully we can keep him fit between now until the end of the season.”
On the other hand, Robinson said that goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic (knee sprain) will not play this weekend and is still being monitored on a week-to-week basis.
“If he’s back in the next two or three weeks, then I’ll certainly be happy.” Robinson said. “But there’s not an immediate return.”
‘CAPS PREPARED FOR PRESS
It’s no secret that New England, Vancouver’s opponent on Saturday, are a team that thrives off the high press. In other words, they like to defend high up the pitch, pressure the opponent’s back line, and create goalscoring opportunities through turnovers in dangerous areas.
That’s something the ‘Caps hope they can take advantage of.
“If we are good on the ball, we can get out and creates chances from that,” said Felipe, who spent three seasons with the high-pressing New York Red Bulls. “I came from a high press team, and when you don’t press well, or when the other team is good on the ball, you leave a lot of space in behind. So that’s something we have to work on.”