The Vancouver Whitecaps talked about depth in the off-season, making several additions that were geared at making this club more competitive for 2016. Carl Robinson and company brought the veteran Blas Perez in to help out up top, while also bringing in Japanese star Masato Kudo. Cristian Techera was retained in the attacking midfield after an impressive rookie MLS season, and Christian Bolanos was brought in to provide some upside along with is two way play. This was in addition to the stable of players Robinson was counting on to re-bound on 2016; Captain Pedro Morales, he of the injury bug, and Octavio Rivero, he of the massive goal droughts. Management was also hoping Kekuta Manneh could take the next step and really take the attack to the next level, while Darren Mattocks awkwardly hung out in the background, kind of like an ex-girlfriend on facebook that sometimes mentions you in status updates.
Six matches into the 2016 Regular Season, and it's clear the best case scenario hasn't exactly begun to pan out for the club. While Kudo and Bolanos are new to the league are going to get more slack while they adapt to their new surroundings, the same cannot be said for Rivero and Manneh, who have performed below expectation; Each sit with zero goals on the year. In fact, Pedro Morales is the only attacker to actually score this season, with 4 goals on the year. Jordan Harvey and Kendall Waston have the other two markers for 2016.
Let's talk a bit more about Pedro; The Whitecaps Captain has had a good start to the year, both through his creative passes and his reliability from the penalty spot. However, given Morales is the offensive maestro, he has to shoulder a lot of the blame for the Whitecaps continued struggles from free play. The Whitecaps have gotten their chances this year and more than a few near goals have bounced off crossbars, but they've struggled to finish those chances unless Morales is at the line. Without Morales in the lineup against DC United, the entire attack looked confused, ineffective and over matched until it was far too late on the scoreboard.
While it's clearly not time to write off the Whitecaps given how early in the season it is, the continued offensive production problems have got to be causing some concern among the coaching staff and players. Now, as their most important attacking player nurses an injury along with several other key players for this club, the question is, who will step up? If this is an injury that continues to nag at the Captain as the season progresses, does the club have someone that can actually take his place? Cristian Techera could be moved to his spot, but he's looked pretty ineffective this season. Nico would be another choice, but he's nursing an injury of his own. At this point, does the club have anybody that can actually fill those boots and help guide the Whitecaps attack back to respectability? I'm sure this is saltiness spilling over from the DC United debacle, but I see very few options on this roster right now.