When the Whitecaps needed immediate help at the RB spot, they snapped up Steven Beitashour from the San Jose Earthquake in a brilliant move. They felt they needed more competition at the Goalkeeper position, so they brought in Paolo Tornaghi, a cast-off from the Chicago Fire. Yet, when Camilo defected to another club, opening up a gaping hole in the attack, the Whitecaps stood firm, and haven't really done much of anything. Head Coach Carl Robinson doesn't seem too fazed by it, and has stated that he'd like to see an injection of youth into the Whitecaps this season.
It's all well and good to be optimistic about the upcoming season; you could point to Kekuta Manneh, who seems primed for a breakout year (if you haven't heard that a million times already). You could look at the seemingly limitless potential of Darren Mattocks, or the strong pre-season by both Omar Salgado and Erik Hurtado as positive signs for the club moving forward. Yet, what happens if the Whitecaps gamble and they lose?
Not one of the players in the Whitecaps attack is proven, save Kenny Miller who is another year older and has yet to play a full season for the club. He was injury prone in his second season and ineffective in his first, so to start, the club has to hope this season is a peak in his career, and not a valley. He's shown some veteran savvy and that he can still score some goals, but is that enough to rely on match in and match out?
Let's take another look at the young guns. Could Omar Salgado be the player the Whitecaps were hoping he could be when they picked him first overall in 2011? Sure, but we have no way of knowing until he actually steps foot on the pitch. We saw very little of Erik Hurtado in his first season, and what we did see wasn't overly impressive (His first touch has been well documented). We're not really banking on him to score goals this season are we? Come on, Hurtado would be a nice story if he could pot a few, but he can't actually be counted upon for offence, right?
How about Darren Mattocks, the player whose uninspired play last season was only exceeded by the rotten attitude he showcased during a year-end interview with Jamaican television? Again, we can hope that he'll be better, but he's far from a proven commodity. What about Kekuta Manneh? Is the club hoping to ease him into a full MLS season, or are they expecting him to be a 'go-to-guy'? Frankly, if all of the club's offensive eggs are in his basket, that could be troubling.
This would be the point where I'd like to write about the offensive strength the club has in midfield, although we all know that would be a fabrication. Nigel Reo-Coker is a driving force to be sure, but he scored just one goal last season. Russell Teibert scored two in one match, and Gershon Koffie had a rocky, uneven season that saw him fighting for playing time. New addition Mehdi Ballouchy is a depth option of course; he's played in 27 matches over the last two seasons, and has one goal during that time.
So where will the goals come from, if the youngsters have growing pains this season? I hope Kenny Miller has been resting this off-season; it looks like a lot may be required of him.