MLS Training Camp Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps

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By JOSE M. ROMERO

PHOENIX — The Vancouver Whitecaps' first MLS preseason camp away from home figures to draw some interest from plenty of those following the expansion club. 

Vancouver is no stranger to training in Arizona. The USSF Division 2 Whitecaps played three preseason games in Casa Grande and Tempe (Arizona State University) last February and are back for a total of three weeks in the winter sunshine of the desert this year. 

The Whitecaps will be the second team to touch down in Arizona, and they'll hold practices at Empire Field in Vancouver in between Arizona tour stops. The highlight of their preseason figures to be the recently announced Cascadia Summit, which includes matches against Portland and Seattle in early March.

Here's a closer look at Vancouver's pre-season in Arizona:

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Length of stay: Jan. 29-Feb. 9 at Grande Sports World; Feb. 16-26 at Reach 11 complex, Phoenix.

Tentative training game/scrimmage schedule: Feb. 1 vs. Real Salt Lake, Feb. 4 vs. Seattle , Feb. 8 vs. Columbus, Feb. 18 vs. Chivas USA, Feb. 20 vs. L.A. Galaxy, Feb. 24 vs. L.A. Galaxy.

Key Arrivals: D Jay DeMerit, GK Joe Cannon, M-F Atiba Harris, F Omar Salgado, D Alain Rochat.

Key Departures: None (inaugural season).

What to watch for: Pick a topic. The sheer newness of the club in MLS puts the Whitecaps and coach Teitur Thordarson under the microscrope. Thordarson will be charged with whipping his club into shape for its inaugural season, and the Whitecaps will be making some key roster decisions as they try to find the right mix to take into Year One in MLS. Specifically, it'll be interesting to see how much leadership veteran DeMerit assumes right away. Then, how the expansion draftees build chemistry with the USSF-2 signings and rookies, and whom from the group of non-roster invitees stands out and wins a spot or spots on the final roster. 

Of note: Midfielder Philippe Davies, 20, is among the players the MLS side signed from the lower-division Whitecaps. He's the first homegrown academy and Canadian the MLS club has ever signed. "Really looking forward to it," Davies said while in Arizona for a Canada U-23 camp recently. "He (Thordarson) has got to assess the new players, so we'll see what happens. Like Tom (Soehn, technical director) said, he wants players with character and we've got that. The fans (in Vancouver) expect us to at least get to the playoffs."

 

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19 Responses to MLS Training Camp Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps

  1. Dinho says:

    No John Thorrington as a “key arrival.” Come on Ives, the guy is a stud (when healthy).

  2. Rainstpub says:

    +1

    Thorrington is a great player, obviously when healthy. I hated to see him go(Fire fan) but Soehn knows what he is doing. John is a great guy and will be a great asset to the Vancouver community, on and off the field.

  3. Daniel says:

    The whitecaps need some forwards that can score on thier roster now! You cant rely on a 17 year old who may not even be able to play because of a FIFA rule and also the U-20’s! Get some forwards on that roster geez, the season is less than 2 months out.

  4. The Dude says:

    I just don’t get it. While Portland has collected five good strikers, Vancouver has precisely ZERO strikers. Attiba Harris is a winger and Salgado can’t play til September. What the hell are they doing up there?????

  5. Lawrence says:

    The Vancouver Whitecaps academy seems pretty good. I hope MLS helps Canada’s national team become a quality side. Going from 2 strong teams in CONCACAF to 3 would be great.

    I wonder when we’ll start to see the effect, Gold Cup 2013?

  6. Lawrence says:

    Alright, I’ll reveal the big secret: Steve Nash at forward

  7. Rainstpub says:

    You build a team from the back to front, especially an expansion club. Remember the 98 Fire? They built from the back to the front and young, unproven forwards began to emerge to become great forwards in the league (Razov, Wolff).

  8. Lost in Space says:

    Sorry but Costa Rica has a better chance of joining Mexico & US as the Strong CONCACAF teams than Canada. Canada should be looking to join Honduras & El Salvador as consistent CONCACAF Finalists before being expected to make it to the top of the hill.

    CONCACAF Power Ranking:

    1a) USA (based only on winning WCQ last)

    1b) Mexico

    2) Costa Rica

    3) Honduras

    4) El Salvador

    5) Jamaca

    6) T&T

    7) Panama

    8) Canada

  9. WhitecapsFC FOREVER says:

    Vancouver has the BEST academy system in North America – ’nuff said. Look for some major international signings to come up in the forward/striker position. Whitecaps FC will make the playoffs, and the Cascadia rivalry will boost MLS’ profile not only in North America, but worldwide. Watch.

  10. Myles B says:

    It’s not a matter of if but when the Maple Leaf will rise again. One day we will make it to the top of the hill (we’ve got way more resources than the Costa Ricans, Hondurans and Salvadorans not to make it) and the Americans and Mexicans will fear to tread north of 49!

  11. Saulo says:

    AGAIN?!?! When did the BEFORE happen? I mean, I went on holidays during Christmas but I wasn’t gone for that long! Lets get real, Canada has little infrastructure, no league of their own and the little talent that WE (yes I’m Canadian) have rather play for other countries. But we are the BEST at Hockey!!!

  12. Saulo says:

    Dude, in MLS everybody makes the playoffs!!! Well…except Toronto.

  13. Ricky B. Free says:

    I believe thate Mexico is in North America and they have better academies.

  14. Myles B says:

    Saulo, I’m a TFC fan but you’re a funny guy so I’ll take it in stride!

  15. peterjh says:

    Canada won CONCACAF qualifying for the 1986 World Cup. A number of those players featured prominently for the old NASL Whitecaps (but were playing indoor at this time because of the league folding). Maybe you weren’t born yet.

  16. Sandra says:

    sounders play vancouver on march 6th and vancouver plays portland on march 5th.

  17. sholata says:

    these early pre-pre-season updates are very interesting. In season, you do a typical power ranking, which is also very interesting. Wondering if at that point in season, you would go through the league like this with a sort of, whose play is running above or below expectations. And thank you.

  18. I says:

    I too am a TFC fan, but I can’t take offence to it because it is actually true.

  19. scott723 says:

    Vancouver needs massive help in the attack. Who are the forwards? Who are the attacking midfielders? Salinas will be of some help and Harris is more of a hard guy than anything else. The Whitecaps needs LOTS of offensive help…and soon.