Roster bolstered after disappointment last season
By Erik Pinto, Contributor
The 2016/17 Whitecaps season ended in utter disappointment.
There were high hopes for the club, which were backed by great form and consistent performances, but the Whitecaps fell short to fellow Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders in the MLS semi-finals, not scoring a goal over both fixtures.
Despite ending last season on a sour note, the boys are back. The Whitecaps began a new season this past week with a new-look and a new starting 11. Head coach Carl Robinson made it clear in the off-season that changes needed to be made throughout the entire roster.
The Caps said their goodbyes to 17 players, most of whom played crucial roles on past game days. Notable players heading out include leading goal scorer Freddy Montero, veteran midfielders in Bolaños, Mathias Laba, and a consistent starter in Tony Tchani. In defence, the Caps shipped a talented young defender in Tim Parker back home to New York. Finally, between the woodwork, David Ousted’s four-year tenure in Vancouver came to an abrupt end when he found himself on the bench behind the Kiwi keeper Stefan Marinović.
Despite all these subtractions, the club managed to make additions forming a well-rounded roster that seems very capable of making a deeper playoff push.
The new and improved Whitecaps added names like Felipe Campanholi Martins, Efraín Juárez from the Liga MX, and Jordon Mutch (on loan from Crystal Palace), although the most notable of all off-season acquisitions was MLS veteran and renowned goal-scorer Kei Kamara. For years he has been a scoring threat in the MLS playing across six different teams in the league.
Fans got to see this new talent on display with a sold-out, record crowd at BC Place on March 4. With a buzzing atmosphere it was the future of the Whitecaps shining bright. Kei Kamara notched his first goal in the Caps’ classy new grey kits. Alongside Kamara, the 17-year-old Canadian international Alphonso Davies also managed to get on the board with his first career MLS goal. These two goals sent them comfortably past the Impact.
Hopefully the season opener was just a preview of what is to come for this campaign as this young franchise begins another journey in seek of substantial success.