Fresh off an opening day win against Cascadia rival Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC have seen two new faces fully integrated into first-team training.
Brazilian midfielder Caio Alexandre and Portuguese-Angolan defender Bruno Gaspar have both taken part in their first training sessions in Utah over the past couple days.
The two are very excited to begin this next step in their careers with the ‘Caps.
“I watched MLS at times, I really enjoyed watching Vancouver. The fans, the stadium, the city is very good, so what more can I ask for? It’s a perfect club to play for,” said Gaspar.
“I’m very happy to be here with the Whitecaps. My first days have been great, the guys have received me incredibly well,” said Alexandre. “I’m here to continue to grow my game and myself and evolve as a human being. Marc (Dos Santos)’s involvement in the whole process was key. He showed a lot of interest, and it all got me very excited.”
Alexandre, who joined the ‘Caps from Brazilian Serie A side Botafogo, will provide competition in midfield, while also adding composure in possession to help the ‘Caps move forward on the attack.
“I just want to give the best version of me to the team. I’ve played a lot as a box-to-box or holding midfielder in Brazil, I will always give my best whether that be marking and defending, or trying to help in the buildup and arriving late into the box to help contribute with goals,” said Alexandre.
As for Gaspar, the right back joins the ‘Caps on loan from European powerhouse Sporting CP and describes himself as a balanced fullback who likes to get forward.
“I like to attack, as every fullback does in the modern game, but I see myself like a balanced player. I also defend, and I have good passing,” said Gaspar. “The fans can expect lots from me on the attack, good passes, and good crosses.”
Given they both speak Portuguese, the two have helped each other out both on and off the pitch in order to acclimatize to their new surroundings.
“Bruno has helped me a lot. Since I arrived here, I’ve talked a lot with him as he speaks English well. I’ve also been paying attention to what he and my teammates do in training so I know what to do, what is expected of me, and to listen to the coach,” explained Alexandre in an exclusive interview with club reporter Sarita Patel.
“My English is good but I think I must improve a little more, but I’ve tried to help Caio. We are helping each other out but the staff has also helped us a lot, they’ve been great,” said Gaspar.
In terms of translating their relationship to the pitch and beginning their first season with the ‘Caps, Alexandre and Gaspar know what’s in front of them, having kept a close eye on the recent growth of Major League Soccer.
“I’ve watched it for a couple of years now,” said Gaspar. “I have some friends playing here also and they told me about the teams and the players.”
“I’ve been following the league for a bit, it’s a league that’s growing a lot here and internationally, and I also have a few friends in the league,” said Alexandre. “With regards to the playing style of MLS, it is important to learn and study the differences of all the teams so I’ve been watching a lot recently to prepare.”
The pair will aim to get integrated into matchday squads throughout the coming weeks as they continue training with the team in Utah, with the ultimate goal of helping the ‘Caps comfortably booking a place in this year’s MLS Cup Playoffs.