For certain stretches of the MLS regular season so far, the Vancouver Whitecaps have seen some of their young forwards take major strides in their development. Erik Hurtado had failed to truly impress in his first season with the club, but some more playing time this season saw him go on a pretty impressive goal streak. Darren Mattocks was on a nice streak of four goals in five games himself just a few weeks ago, and Russell Teibert has worn the Captain's armband on a few occasions, a true sign of Carl Robinson's faith in him.
However, despite having young talent like Mattocks, Kekuta Manneh, Hurtado and Sebastian Fernandez, the Whitecaps have been stagnant offensively far too often, and with just 10 matches remaining in the season, there's little time for them to finally put it all together. Carl Robinson obviously wanted to inject some veteran savvy in his attack with the acquisition of Mauro Rosales, but the talent of the assist machine will be tested if players like Hurtado continue to play with stone feet.
My God, could this club ever use the Kekuta Manneh of 2013. He exuded confidence on the pitch and scored a respectable six goals in his rookie campaign. He's obviously failed to build off that, considering he's scored just three times this season. Robinson has gone out and acquired some very talented players like Rosales and Pedro Morales this season, and if they could just find a pure finisher, they could boast one of the most potent attacks in the league. How is it, when you throw a slew of hungry young players onto the pitch, that not one can stand head and shoulders above the rest for any consistent amount of time? Don't even get me started on Omar Salgado, who's had some tough luck with injuries yes, but is getting opportunities to prove he belongs, and he's done anything but.
I'll cut Darren Mattocks a bit of slack, because I think his work ethic and maturity have very much improved since last season. The best thing you can say about him is that he hasn't brought any drama into the clubhouse, and he's working his butt off when he gets playing time. My only beef with Mattocks is that he's scored six times this season, when that number should be much higher given all the chances he's given and able to create.
Right now, the Whitecaps are a good team trying to prove to the league they're great. For that to happen, they're going to need their stable of young guns to rise to the occasion, and not just once every few weeks.