Monday, January 31, 2011

Gage Completes Move From Whitecaps to Reading

A week after the local media discovered that Ethan Gage would not be training with the Caps and was on trial with Reading FC in England, it is official and the reigning U20 player of the year has transferred overseas.  When he did arrive a couple days after news broke Gage told reporters that he felt the trial went well and he were waiting to hear from his agent if a contract would be offered.  The signing of Gage is another example of how successful the Whitecaps residency program has become in developing young football players.  Gage will be the fourth player in four years to move to Europe on transfer or loan with Straith (2008), Latendresse-Levesque (2009), Haber (2010) being the other previous higher profile prospects to make the move overseas.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Quota Is Not A Problem For Whitecaps

After much negotiation with the CSA, the MLS announced that there would be a Canadian player quota for the Whitecaps and TFC in 2011.  Overall it was reduced from eight players that TFC required last year to each team needing to have three Canadians under contract.  Both teams already have the quota filled on their roster as the Whitecaps have three signed for 2011 and Toronto have five on their roster.  There may be even more Canadians signed by each team as they a number of players on trial during the preseason.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Post Draft Whitecaps Roster Analysis: Part III

The players that the Whitecaps have brought in to compete for the attacking positions will not strike fear into the opposition’s defenders and goalies.  There are only two pure strikers in camp, one who is on trial and the other, who is signed, can’t play for the team until he turns 18 in September.  I purposely made this the last part of the series because I was hoping management would have brought someone new through the transfer window.  Some of the players I have included in this piece will play the majority of their time as midfielders but they also have the ability to move up top to play the forward position.

Is Ornoch An Option For The Whitecaps?

Late yesterday it was reported that Canadian international Andrew Ornoch was not offered a contract by TFC as it was assumed it would be at the beginning of the transfer window.  The initial offer was proposed by the interim management team which was enticing the 6-3 striker by the fact that he bought out his own contract.  However, when new management led by Aaron Winter took over the Toronto club, the offer was rescinded and Ornoch was left out in the cold.  Also in the same report Ornoch is said to be understandably upset with this news and feels he was misled by TFC but may have some other options in North America and Europe.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Ethan Gage Trials With Reading FC

On the first day of training it was revealed by Whitecaps management, through Marc Weber's tweet, that U20 Canadian Men's Player of the Year Ethan Gage is on trial with Reading FC of The Champions League in England.  There has been no word prior to today on the trial but the Whitecaps have said Gage will be welcomed back to camp anytime.  If one is to believe management, there wasn't a player on contract for the 2011 season and so we are left wondering whether the Caps will get anything or this falls under as a free transfer.  If the trial is not successful for the young Canadian it will be good experience and it will give him a benchmark as he learns what he needs to work on.  This won't be the first time that Gage is trialing with Reading as prior to signing to the Residency program in 2007 he had training sessions with academies in England with Reading, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, and Charlton.  He also spent time in Germany with Hamburger SV and in Scotland with St. Johnstone.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Post Draft Whitecaps Roster Analysis: Part II

While they have only signed only five midfielders to a MLS contract, the Whitecaps have many more in camp that have the potential to see significant playing time next year.  Versatility is the word for their center midfielders as the ones in camp have shown the ability to play as an attacker while being responsible defensively.  While the following players can definitely score goals, they are more in the playmaker mold and will create opportunity for the attacking players we will look at in Part III.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rochat Returns Home.....Sort Of

Six days into the winter transfer window there finally was a tweet from the Whitecaps organization that a new player signing would be announced on Friday.  Was this the striker that every fan in the lower mainland was hoping for or at least a midfielder with a scorer’s touch?  Hopes were dashed a few hours later when Marc Weber of The Province reported the signing was of a player that the majority of Whitecaps fans knew was a lock for the 2011 roster last summer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Post Draft Whitecaps Roster Analysis: Part I

The 2011 MLS season is less than 60 days away and after 2 separate drafts the Whitecaps roster is starting to take shape.  With the drafting concluded, the team have 14 players signed and an additional 18 in camp attempting to earn MLS contracts.  The transfer window opened last weekend and while there are no signings to report and only one player, Robbie Savage, linked to the team, the Whitecaps are expected to bring in another 4 to 6 players to compete for spots in the starting eleven.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whitecaps Add Another Three Through Draft

The Vancouver Whitecaps selected another three more college players on Tuesday through the Supplemental draft.  The Whitecaps having the first pick gave their scouts another opportunity to go over their reports and take their time to pick the best player not selected in the Superdraft.  They ended up selecting an import with the first pick and two domestics, a relatively unknown Canadian and an American with soccer bloodlines.

Michael Boxall, DF, UCSB

Monday, January 17, 2011

Not So SuperDraft Preview

On Tuesday, the MLS will conduct the Supplemental draft which will consist of the NCAA players not selected Thursday in Baltimore.  With the rosters expanded to 30 players this is an opportunity for teams to fill their team in with cheap talent who may have a chip on their shoulder for being passed over.  There is always a chance a diamond in the rough could be picked and given the chance to develop in the reserve league and become a regular in a couple of seasons.

Before being eliminated in 2009, the previous four supplemental drafts have produced some talent in the MLS including 2010 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.  Other players to come out of this draft include Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz, Chicago’s Dasan Robinson and Chris Tierney of the Revolution.  The following players are potential picks for the Whitecaps who have the first pick on Tuesday.

Daniel Keat, MF, Dartmouth

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Who Needs Nagbe? Not the Whitecaps.

Within moments of the completion of the first two picks of the 2011 SuperDraft, all the MLS draft experts weighed in with their opinion.  How could the Whitecaps take a young player like Salgado and not draft a player who is ready to step into your lineup immediately?  Even after Nagbe admitted to having a preference to playing in the United States, ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas continued to state that he  couldn’t believe the Caps didn’t draft the Akron product.

Earlier in the week at the combine, Whitecaps manager Teitur Thordarson commented to reporters that he didn’t expect any of the players in the draft to start immediately and would not put pressure for any young player to carry the expansion franchise.  Although not signed as of yet to MLS contracts, the Whitecaps have three players in their camp that could potentially play the same position that Nagbe plays as a withdrawn striker.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vancouver Whitecaps: Friday Links

--Marc Weber of The Province reports of the Whitecaps front office belief that Omar Salgado a world-class striker in the making

--A different view from the Globe & Mail's Matt Sekeras as the Whitecaps roll dice with 17-year-old striker

--The Vancouver Sun's Bruce Costantineau writes of how the Vancouver Whitecaps stun MLS, take Omar Salgado as top SuperDraft pick

--Local article from El Paso Times tells of El Pasoan Omar Salgado a surprise No. 1 pick in MLS draft

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vancouver Whitecaps SuperDraft Review

One thing was clear from how the Whitecaps went through the selection process at MLS SuperDraft.  They weren't just going to select players just to make the draft experts happy as the management team selected a player who while young, flashes a high upside and spent over a week training with the team last summer.  There were some definite themes in the way the Whitecaps made their draft picks with all four players being able to use the left foot.  Both first rounders are left footed players while the two Notre Dame selections are considered to be two footed players.  Except for Nanchoff, size also seemed to be a factor with the other three players being 6'1" and taller.

At the combine earlier in the week, the Whitecaps stated that they felt they were not looking at any of these players to come in on day one to start for their team.  With the selection of Salgado it gives a definite message that the Whitecaps are going to operate their club on their own terms.

F OMAR SALGADO-1st overall selection

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Vancouver Whitecaps SuperDraft Preview

In a year of firsts, the Whitecaps will select college players in their first MLS Superdraft and in the week leading up the speculation is running wild.  The stories started at the MLS combine that the consensus top prospect, Darlington Nagbe, was not attending the combine as he was told by the Whitecaps  that he was assured the top pick.  By the end of the camp a rumour was spread that Nagbe did not want to play in Vancouver as it would affect his citizenship in the United States.  Vancouver's front office, Sohen and Lenarduzzi especially, have fueled some of this speculation by disclosing to the media that they open to listening to offers and that they had narrowed their choice down to two players.

With the winter transfer window open soon, the Caps will be bringing in a number of veterans to fill in the opening roster against TFC in March.  It makes it difficult to identify what players they may select, however they do have three picks in the top nineteen to help fill out the roster.  After winning the coin flip last summer against expansion cousins, Vancouver have their own selections at 1, 19 and 37.  In addition the Whitecaps traded Nathan Sturgis, an expansion selection, to TFC for their 1st round pick which is 8th overall.