Many fans were wondering if the Vancouver Whitecaps could replicate their form against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night. With two matches in three days, the players looked a bit slower. But there’s no need to worry. There’s plenty of optimism to go around moving forward.
Three Things The Vancouver Whitecaps Learned Against Philadelphia
Christian Dean is Damn Good
Dean was selected as Man of the Match for the game against Philadelphia, and rightly so. Both Dean and Tim Parker shut down every legitimate chance the Union came up with. Dean looked comfortable on the ball as well, an invaluable trait to have in a center back. The 23-year-old continues to make it difficult for head coach Carl Robinson to exclude him from the starting XI, even with mainstay Kendall Waston coming back from suspension shortly.
Not only did Dean look comfortable, but he looked at home. The supporters section, and every other fan in BC Place, was well aware that he was a pivotal piece in keeping the clean sheet on Sunday night. This kind of play throws the metaphorical wrench in team selection moving forward. How can you sit a talented young player when they’re playing like Dean is? I guess this is why Robinson gets paid the big bucks.
This is all without mentioning the moment of defensive brilliance Dean had against the Union. Just inside the 18-yard box he pressed the winger to force a mistake and seamlessly changed the direction of his hips to steal the ball away, dribbled off, and started play forward. A moment of true beauty for all to behold.
The Defense is Strong
With players like Dean coming off the bench and taking control, and Tim Parker looking as strong as ever, the defense is definitely not a worry for the Whitecaps moving forward. It’s easy to say that this is early, and to not jump to conclusions, but there’s some serious skill and depth on the back line this season.
When you have a young man with the talent of Jake Nerwinski, a third center back like Dean, Tim Parker, Kendall Waston, and a seasoned veteran like Sheanon Williams, it’s easy to sleep at night. It definitely makes the job of Robinson a much easier one than in 2016, that’s for sure.
With the added depth, and the likelihood of a bounce-back season from Parker, the Whitecaps back line is one to truly be reckoned with. Look for them to lead the team forward for the foreseeable future.
The Attack is Elite
Despite not scoring a goal in the opening match of the season, there’s every reason to believe that the ‘Caps attack is elite. This almost goes without saying when you have a player like Fredy Montero at your disposal.
Aside from Montero, you have an elite talent in Kekuta Manneh, and a young phenom in Alphonso Davies to take the point of emphasis off the prolific Montero. Multiple points of attack and depth is something the club lacked last season. This was one of the reasons the ‘Caps missed out on the playoffs, and the club deserves applause for going out and adding the players they have leading up to this season.
It will be a less than surprising event to see the goal tally among the best in Major League Soccer come the end of the season. And with the added depth, a second half of the season scoring slump looks unlikely, meaning the ‘Caps could very well be on their way to a very successful season.