The Vancouver Whitecaps appear to be backing into the post-season, or perhaps more aptly, limping. The 'Caps have looked offensively neutered their last few matches, and the biggest reason is the amount of injuries sustained to key players. For instance, the Whitecaps most important offensive player is Pedro Morales, and he's been injured for the majority of the season, which has had a ripple affect on the teams entire attack. Unfortunately, Morales is anything but a sure bet to be ready in time for the playoffs, and that means the Whitecaps will need other players on the club to step up to the plate.
Without Morales to run the midfield, the club has managed to get by, but further injuries to players like Mauro Rosales, Nicolas Mezquida and Cristian Techera has meant a dry spell, a spell that's only likely to be broken if they can get that personnel back. They can't rely on young depth players to plug the roster holes, but will regain a ton of their swagger If they can get players like Techera back to 100% when the post-season rolls around next week.
It's a different narrative from the beginning of the season, when all we could talk about was the Whitecaps vaunted roster depth, something that's all but evaporated now. It's unfair to completely dump on the young players like Debyi Flores, but I think it's pretty clear he needs to be a bench option, not a candidate for the starting 11. Even younger guys that have lots of experience, like Kekuta Manneh, haven't looked as good as they need to right now. You would think this would be their time to shine with minutes up for grabs, but instead, they've looked lost.
The Whitecaps still have a few healthy, talented offensive players that could make a difference. Hey, what about Darren Mattocks? Thanks to international duty, the 'Caps striker hasn't suited up for the Whitecaps since a substitution appearance on October 7th, versus Dallas FC. That should change soon, as he's been included in Thursday's trip to Honduras, and given the short bench, is a good candidate to see some playing time. He's had another inconsistent, forgettable season for the Whitecaps, but could end a positive note with some good showings Thursday and over the weekend. That being said, barring some magic to finish off the regular season, I think it's likely Mattocks has played his last season in Vancouver, although it seems like we predict that every year.