Vancouver has quickly shown its offensive side in impressive fashion with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Montreal Impact and another clear 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.
Wednesday afternoon, on that rarest of days – February 29th, Vancouver will take on Sporting KC in their final preliminary round match.
Whitecaps vs. MLS Eastern Conference side Sporting Kansas City at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, on Wednesday at 3 p.m. PT.
You can watch Wednesday’s match live on MLSsoccer.com.
Chris Estridge, the 2nd round selection by the Whitecaps in the MLS SuperDraft has been released following the emergence of Greg Klazura who has impressed in the pre-season. Klazura has been a sure tackler in his appearances to date, and also plays a nice first time ball out to speed up the transition from the back.
The team appears relatively healthy at this time.
Gershon Koffie has stood out for me in the past few matches in midfield. His control has been evident and he is experimenting with a wide variety of passes, moving the ball as quickly as possible.
New striker Sebastien Le Toux has brought confidence and holds the ball up well up front, knowing when to bring his teammates into matches.
His two penalty goals on confident shots also revealed his calm nerves.
Finally Argentinian defender Martin Bonjour has helped stabilize the defence, and he also provided some impressive forward runs, including one that led to a cutback against Montreal, culminating in a goal for Eric Hassli at the Disney tourney.
If Le Toux was somewhat of a surprise pick-up a couple of weeks back, considering the already healthy stable of strikers in Van City, then the acquisition of Maltese striker Etienne Barbara (another ex-Carolina RailHawk) was an even bigger wonder.
Coach Rennie is certainly stacking the forward line, but eventually the ranks will have to be thinned.
Barbara scored 20 goals last year in the second tier NASL for Carolina, but whether that ability translates to the higher skilled league will be a big question.
It will be several weeks until Barbara sees the field for the Whitecaps though as he suffered an adductor strain in late January.
“He’s a little bit like Camilo in the fact that he can dribble and take people on,” Rennie said. “He’s not just a runner, but he’s also got really good pace. … He’s a guy who can start or come off the bench and make an impact. He can play wide, he can play through the middle.
He’s also good at getting behind people in wide areas.
He brings a lot to the table and having an extra bit of fire power is great.”
Check back later this week for our Whitecaps season preview.