The Vancouver Whitecaps have a new striker ahead of the 2015 season, something that leaves plenty of questions for the stable of young goal scorers that Whitecaps currently have on the roster and were forced to rely on for the 2014 season. As 'Caps fans know, it's something that didn't exactly work out.
That man is Octavio Rivero, and expectations couldn't be higher for him given Carl Robinson's impressive track record of adding players so far. If Rivero can do for the 'Caps striker position what Pedro Morales did for the attacking midfield and Kendall Waston did for the backline, the Whitecaps could make the jump to elite next season.
Lost in the Rivero fervour are the striker holdovers from the 2014 season, namely Erik Hurtado and Darren Mattocks. While Hurtado put forth a great attitude and worked his butt off, the sentiment around Darren Mattocks is much more negative.
Simply put, he's got a bad attitude and absolutely no statistics to back it up.
So, with the young Jamaican finishing up a training spell with AFC Bournemouth , the imminent question must be asked; Should the Whitecaps bring him back?
If you read my intro, it would seem the answer is pretty simple; a big, fat, stinky no. However, you could also make the case for the Whitecaps giving Darren Mattocks one more shot to take the next step in his career.
Mattocks struggled as a lone striker, but his speed and athleticism make him ideal for a two striker set up top. Paired with Erik Hurtado or Kekuta Manneh, the 'Caps trotted out far too many of the same type of player, and no doubt made it easier for opponents to prepare their game plan accordingly.
However, pair him with some fresh blood like Rivero, described as an 'all around striker' by Bob Lenarduzzi, and we could see Mattocks hit the 'reboot' button his career with the Whitecaps. I'm not sure if Mattocks can be the guy for a club, but it's worth exploring whether he can be a 1a. If Rivero can score goals like the 'Caps are hoping he can, the pressure and attention is slightly off Darren Mattocks, which might help him breathe a bit more.
I'm not a fan of Darren Mattocks, and since the season ended, I'm been in favour of seeing a clean break between himself and the Whitecaps. However, with a new striker that brings a different skill set, I think Mattocks could finally make some important contributions for the team. (Then I'd like to see the team sell him at his highest value, but that's a post for another day)
Long term, I don't know if Mattocks is a fit for the club, given Kekuta Manneh is a very similar player and has looked better than Mattocks despite being 4 years younger. For the immediate future, I'd like to see if he can bring something of substance to the Whitecaps offence, at least until we know what Rivero is going to bring to the fold. Hey, if he doesn't bring his 'A' game, the club can always just part with him later.
What's your take? Do you want Darren Mattocks back in 2015?