Today, our continuing look at the pain points of each Canadian MLS club shifts westward, as we examine goings on in Vancouver…
The ‘Caps seem to have faced more departures this offseason than arrivals.
Like TFC, Vancouver shored up their backline by acquiring Sheanon Williams through a trade with Houston. Having started 184 of 192 appearances over his 7-year MLS career, the Boston, Massachusetts native will add stability at right back.
The club parted ways with Masato Kudo, who returned to his native Japan, and recently completed the transfer of Kianz Froese to German club Fortuna Düsseldorf.
The Caps also will be without the services of Pedro Morales, the club’s all-time regular season assists leader (22) and second all-time in goals (25). These are large footy boots to fill, and The ‘Caps will have a hard time ever finding the DP signing to do the trick.
Enter 23-year old Peruvian International, Yordy Reyna, arriving from FC Red Bull Salzburg for 2017. Reyna is exactly the type of player more MLS clubs should be attempting to add to their roster.
Young, hard-working, and a proven talent at a high level of competition, Reyna looks set to add attacking depth to a Whitecaps squad that, minus an all-out central forward and their most storied playmaker, will be looking for a source of goals.
That said, Reyna, along with returnees Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado, should slot more ably into an attacking midfield role, or, at best, as a second forward.
So, where does the club sit without a pure, proven central forward on the roster?
Manneh, fresh off his first stint with the USMNT camp before reporting to the Whitecaps’ camp in Wales, looks to have recovered well from the foot surgery that prematurely ended his season last summer.
He recently played in a withdrawn role behind Hurtado in two preseason matches, with his performances well-received.
When asked, though, coach Carl Robinson advised fans not to see this as a sign this being his first-choice, telling Sportsnet, “It’s a different role for him. There was nothing in it. It was strictly to do with getting my players, the first 45 minutes who I wanted to get minutes. He can play there, he can play as a No. 9, he can play as a 10, he can play as an 11 or a 7.”
With a CONCACAF Champions League match at NYRB on February 22 fast-approaching, here’s hoping Robinson finds his secret sauce.