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With Few Additions, Pressure Is On for Whitecaps Youngsters

The cavalry coming isn't coming, as the Whitecaps pretty much stood pat on MLS Roster Freeze Day. That means the pressure is officially on for the youngsters to start producing.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

By now you've moaned and groaned plenty about the Whitecaps and their lack of moves before the roster freeze on Monday afternoon. Sure, the club added some homegrown talent in Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese, but number one on the Whitecaps' shopping list was a proven goal scorer, and they didn't add one. Now the Whitecaps will continue their quest for the post-season with a crop of young strikers that have run hot and cold, well, actually more like tepid and freezing.

Erik Hurtado is everybody's favorite striker again because he scored a nice goal against FC Dallas, but can this club really count on him to be the go-to-guy? How about Darren Mattocks, one of the most polarizing players on the squad. Do I have to mention that ridiculous flub in the last match? What if that were to happen in a playoff match? The dude  would be run out of town!

Then there's Kekuta Manneh, who's battled inconsistency and injury this season, meaning his impact has significantly decreased from his encouraging rookie campaign. I mean, this kid is supposed to be our ace in the hole, and he hasn't scored since May.

When the team struggled early in the season, we could at least speculate that something was coming down the pipe, that Robinson and co. were going to add someone to push this team over the top. For a while there, there was even mention that #37 (What's his name? I want to say.. Carlos?) might be making his way back to Vancouver.

Now we know that the cavalry ain't coming, and the Whitecaps are going to have to make do with what they have. If these kids didn't understand pressure before, this next stretch of games will certainly introduce them to it. I mean, they have to know that an entire city is counting on them to score goals to help this club win, and aside from that Erik Hurtado goal last weekend, they simply haven't been.

So, are we supposed to assume that the club is magically going to figure it out offensively for the rest of this season, or is the coaching staff just really hoping that Pedro Morales gets one penalty kick per match from here on out? I've heard the argument that it's a good thing in the long run that the 'Caps didn't add another veteran, because that would have taken away the playing time for our younger guys, and in turn hurt their development. I mean, I think putting them in a situation like this, in which they're expected to be everyday players when they're clearly not ready to be, probably isn't doing their development much good either.

The coming days will be interesting for this club. Now that the strikers know that all competition lies internally within the team, maybe that will be a bit better for their head space, make them relax a bit. Maybe Erik Hurtado will go on another goal streak now that he's broken his drought. I mean, I think I said that about Darren Mattocks when he scored back in the beginning of August, but you never know.