He's heading into just his second season, but Darren Mattocks must feel the weight of the world on his shoulders.
After an eye-opening 2012 rookie campaign, the young Jamaican striker is expected to lead the charge offensively when the club being the 2013 MLS regular season. For a club that has struggled to score goals for the past two years, Mattocks is just what the club needed; a young, quick, smart striker with an insatiable hunger for goals. The 'Caps better hope he scores consistently, because let's face it folks; Mattocks is going to set the pace for this club.
Yes, he has some strong supporting members around him, but they all come with question marks. Camilo had an unreal 2011 campaign, then fell sharply back to earth in 2012. He was nagged by injury for most of the season, and his production dipped to disappointing lows. Should we expect that he'll be back to normal in 2013? What if he isn't? What if he gets injured again? What if he comes down with Hassl-itis and can't score to save his life? I did an article earlier asking if Camilo was the real deal, and gave the opinion that he would come back to double digits in goals this year, but honestly, how sure can we be? I guess the main point here is, Camilo is far from a sure bet to help out offensively.
Then there's Kenny Miller. Should I stop now? Miller has done nothing but disappoint in his time here, but the Whitecaps seem to have unlimited faith that he'll turn his MLS career around this season. I don't think anybody who pays for tickets agrees with that sentiment, although it's definitely a possibility. If we can't count on Camilo for surefire steady offensive production, then we certainly can't expect Kenny Miller to become a consistent secondary scoring threat.
Then there's the new guys. Erik Hurtado (whomever suggested the nickname 'hurts', I fucking love that) is a rookie, and it's completely unfair to expect him to help shoulder the offensive load for this club. Same goes for Kekutah Manneh, if he's actually on the roster to begin the season. Should we really expect them to become 'Mattocks-like?' I would think we should expect more of an Omar Salgado performance from them. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, I'm saying that's more likely. Veterans are in front of them, so they'll probably see mop up duty for most of their match action at the beginning, unless they really impress in training.Speaking of Salgado, there are trade rumors swirling around him and he hasn't looked particularly impressive in his time on the pitch, so it's safe to say he won't be heavily relied on for scoring.
I'll concede that Diago Kobayashi could make this all a moot point. I've only heard good things about this guy, and the general consensus seems to be that he will make scoring easier with his creative mid play. For the sake of argument though, he hasn't played one minute of football with the Whitecaps yet, so I'll consider that a bit of question mark.
What do you think, loyal minions? Am I just an eternal pessimist? As always, I welcome your feedback.