Darren Mattocks. It seems that there is always something to be said about him, doesn't it? Whether it is because he is scoring a lot of goals, making leaps like he is the "Six Million Dollar Man", because his attitude on the field sucks, because he's not scoring anymore, because he talks about himself in the third person (for the record, Jorge finds this practice ridiculous, Jorge finds it annoying. Jorge digresses) or because he goes on Jamaican television and badmouths his former coach and current club. Either way there always seems to be something.
After his now infamous appearance on Jamaican television, it was believed by many (myself included) that Darren Mattocks was never going to play for the Whitecaps again. However, after the also now infamous telenovela starring Camilo Sanvezzo (aka the Player Who Must Not Be Named, aka Futboldemort, thanks Rituro) and his departure to Mexico, opportunity knocked on Darren's door.
I'll be honest. I wasn't sure Mattocks would answer the door. However, much to my delightful surprise, the 2014 season has started much better than I thought it was going to. Darren's attitude on the field (it seems) is much more positive. He doesn't seem as dejected after missing a clear chance at goal and, instead of lingering 20 yards offside, he comes back quickly to keep the team's shape. His work rate has improved notably. When needed, he can be seen defending corners or tracking back to defend a counterattack when a teammate has gone forward. It seems that the young Jamaican striker is starting to mature, and that is only good for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Darren has been directly involved in three Whitecaps goals. He set up Fernandez and Manneh against New York and Chivas and, most recently, he earned the penalty that would be the game-winning goal versus Houston. There is, however, a red flag in this ocean of positivity and that is Mattock's lack of scoring. Going back to the 2013 season, Darren tallies three goals. It is not because of lack of chances because he seems to be making himself available at the right times and in the right spots. It all comes down to the awful finishing that seems to be afflicting him since last year. From balls that say hello to astronauts in the International Space Station to balls that are intended to go on net but end up as a throw-in for the opposing team, sometimes it feels that Darren will never score again.
I know what some will say: "He's improving, it's a bad patch, you have to stick with him and the goals will come." That is one argument to be made. But allow me to be the devil's advocate and ask the question: How long can you wait for one of your strikers to score goals before you give the chance to someone else who can potentially give you the same work rate, get some assists AND score some goals?
So, dear Whitecaps fan, is it time to keep Darren in the starting lineup or is it time to politely ask him to take a seat?
You are welcome to discuss in the comment section.