VANCOUVER, BC – Stefan Marinovic appears to be inching closer to a return.
After missing the last eight matches with a left knee sprain, the Kiwi international goalkeeper was a full participant in training on Tuesday. Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson did not provide a timeline on Marinovic’s return, but the sight of him on the pitch again was certainly an encouraging sign as the ‘Caps prepare for a busy month of July.
Robinson did, however, say he’s hopeful that captain Kendall Waston won’t be sidelined for “too long” after leaving Sunday’s match at halftime with a groin strain.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as first thought,” Robinson said.
The Costa Rican centre back, who became the first active Whitecaps FC player to play and score at the FIFA World Cup last Wednesday, did some individual work inside the training centre on Tuesday. And Waston said he already feels better than he did when he felt the tweak on Sunday.
“I’m advancing,” Waston told reporters. “That’s positive. I don’t feel the same. Every day I feel better and hopefully I can get back soon, as early as possible.”
That would certainly be a positive for the ‘Caps, who will play a total of seven matches this month, including a pair of midweek affairs against Montreal Impact as they kick off this year’s edition of the Canadian Championship.
“We’ve got a very, very busy July and it doesn’t get any easier for us,” Robinson said. “It gets more difficult, which is why everyone needs to remain healthy … players will get chances now. We play Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday for the next two or three weeks, so it’s down to them. If someone steps up and scores goals, then I’m sure he’ll be in the team.”
Robinson will once again have attacking midfielder Yordy Reyna and centre back Jose Aja at his disposal on Saturday against Chicago Fire (7:30 p.m. PT on TSN2 and 1410 AM radio – limited tickets still available) after the players served their respective one-match suspensions. Striker Myer Bevan, meanwhile, has returned from a productive loan stint with Swedish club Husqvarna FF and will be eligible for selection after Major League Soccer’s transfer window opens on July 10.