They went. They saw. They conquered. Three games in the time span of a week and the Vancouver Whitecaps came away with two victories and a draw. The Whitecaps are now back-to-back title holders of the preseason tournament in Portland.
The tournament began with a 1-0 victory over the hosts, the Portland Timbers, and then a mid-week 3-2 victory over Stabæk, before concluding earlier this afternoon with a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire. The draw against the Fire was not particularly impressive. In fact, if David Ousted had not made a few stunning saves then the result could have been very different. Central defenders, Waston and Kah, looked shaky with Kah making several mistakes. Interestingly enough it was actually Kah who scored for the Whitecaps in the first half, shortly after committing several turnovers. Kah has been a polarizing figure so far this preseason. At times he has looked unsteady, and other times he has looked like a solid starting choice beside Waston. I have a feeling this will continue to be a common theme throughout the 2015 season.
Ousted looks more than ready for the upcoming season. His cat like reflexes are superb and his positioning has been stellar. Mezquida has continued his strong preseason and is making a strong case to be part of the starting XI. Carl Robinson has such a deep team at his disposal that he could soon have a headache trying to figure out how to fit both Mezquida and Morales onto the pitch at the same time. Teibert started beside Laba and he made several deep runs early in the first half. He had a beautiful chance to take a shot but alas he hesitated and laid it off for a teammate. If Teibert is to become a regular in the lineup he must start to take his chances when in front of the opposing goal. Robinson is likely to use two defensive mids this year, and Laba will play deeper so it is up to Teibert, or Koffie, to start the Whitecaps transition to attack. The surprise of the tournament was the emergence of Mattocks. Darren has struggled over the past year and this has been well documented but I must admit that for the most part he did impress me this tournament. If Mattocks can find his scoring boots then that will be a huge bonus for Vancouver this season.
Overall, the preseason has been very productive for the Whitecaps and they could become one of the league’s top teams this season. They still have much to improve, particularly their composure in front of goal, but so does every team in the league.