3-0 in pre-season in Arizona is enough to get most Whitecaps fans excited about the 2013 season.
You all know my mantra pretty well at this point; Pre-season means nothing. However, I can't help but be encouraged by the performances the Vancouver Whitecaps put forth in their three match stay in Arizona. They had a blowout win, where Darren Mattocks scored a hat-trick, they had a come from behind victory, and in their final match where they played depth players, they were able to hold on in a squeaker.
Three individual wins, all done in different, positive ways. Not too shabby for a club in it's third season. Hell, it's encouraging to see the boys in white and blue win matches and look confident while doing it.
There have been plenty of storylines in training camp; guys trying to edge out other guys for starting spots, bubble players trying to prove they belong, new additions trying to mesh with their squad mates early; it's been to fun to watch, even if from afar.
So, I ask you dear readers, (for those of you that have followed training camp) who was looked the most impressive to you?
Here are my picks.
Darren Mattocks. Obviously. This guy has looked unbelievable in the pre-season, scoring four goals in just two matches. He's looked hungry, and he's been able to carry that swagger over from last season. I've said this before, but 2013 could be the year he really impresses.
Camilo. Granted, he doesn't have the gaudy goal totals that his Jamaican counterpart does, but Camilo has looked incredibly polished and ready for MLS action. The hat trick that Mattocks earned in the first pre-season match? Wouldn't have happened without Camilo's work out there. He looked good in the win versus Houston too, setting up Erik Hurtado for a great chance that ultimately hit the post.
Kekutah Manneh and Erik Hurtado haven't looked out of place, which I guess is a good thing at the early stages of their careers. They look like they could be ready for MLS action, although I'm not sure how effective they would be. They do get a thumbs up from me, which I'm sure is such an honor, they'll put it on their resume.
Daigo Kobayashi. We were told he was creative, and though he didn't play the entire pre-season, he certainly showed that aspect of his game whenever he touched the ball. Fans should have high expectations for Kobayashi, as he plugs a big hole in the middle of the pitch.
Jun-Marques Davidson. Am I the only one who thinks Davidson has looked pretty good so far? It's not like he's lighting the world on fire, but he's proving to be a great depth option if the 'Caps run into injury trouble.
Brad Rusin. I thought his mane of hair was the best thing about him, but Rusin's strong,stoic play in pre-season has me thinking the 'Caps aren't as thin on the backline as I previously thought. He's a big body that can move well, and should be a valuable member of the squad.
And on a different note..
Jordan Harvey, looks like he's struggling out there. Harvey had a great comeback year in 2012, proving he could be a serviceable option on the backline. Pre-season is just a sample and not the whole pie, but Harvey needs to be better when the matches that count start.
How about you guys and gals? Who's looked good to you so far? Your comments are always welcome!