Every Friday, sportsnet.ca will talk to a member of Sportsnet’s soccer broadcast team (Craig Forrest, Paul Dolan or Gerry Dobson) specifically about one of Major League Soccer’s three Canadian clubs.
This week, sportsnet.ca chats with Paul Dolan about the Vancouver Whitecaps, Kenny Miller’s arrival and Sebastien Le Toux’s departure.
Q: What did you make of the transfer of Davide Chiumiento to Zurich and the trade that sent Sebastien Le Toux to New York? How do you see Dane Richards fitting in Martin Rennie’s tactical system?
Paul Dolan: I think Whitecaps fans are disappointed to see such a creative player like Chiumiento go as he played some of his best attacking soccer in his last stretch of games while also defending very responsibly this year. But it’s understandable that the club could not match his desires for a longer term deal in Switzerland which takes him back home and close to his family. Le Toux brought a terrific work-rate but never seemed to fully fit into Martin Rennie’s system where I think Dane Richards now gives the club a more dynamic presence on the flank; a true winger who can take players on and get balls into the box.
Q: What does Kenny Miller bring to the table and what does his signing mean for the Whitecaps?
PD: Experience, speed, energy and a good work rate are the words used by the club in introducing Miller to the club. But probably more than anything he’s a player who knows how to score at the highest level and can find openings to score inside the box which has been lacking in the Whitecaps attack this year, with the exception of Darren Mattocks recently.
Q: What’s your evaluation of Barry Robson thus far?
PD: I think it’s too small a sample to fully judge as this is essentially his pre-season and he’s had maybe the most difficult stretch of games for the club (four away games in tough conditions) to get adjusted to MLS. He has shown a great ability to play balls forward with good accuracy and you can see he has a powerful left-footed strike. His intensity on the field shows he wants to be here and make an impression and I think over time he’ll settle in nicely in the Whitecaps midfield.
Q: Bryce Alderson and Russell Teibert have yet to feature for the Whitecaps in MLS play this season. How far or how close are these Canadian youngsters to cracking the Whitecaps’ game-day roster?
PD: Martin Rennie has shown a reliance on using his best players at all times whenever possible but has also rewarded players who have played well in training and in games by giving them playing time and allowing them to maintain their places if warranted. Teibert has worked his way into the 18 the last few games and Rennie has indicated he has been happy with his progress from the start of the year, so he would be the more likely player to see playing time this season.
Q: Why did the Whitecaps struggle to pick up points on their recent five-game road trip?
PD: All teams face the difficult conditions of travelling in the hot summers of MLS and while I’m not making excuses for the team, it’s never going to be easy to pick up points in those conditions against teams that were difficult opponents on the night in every game. Giving up set pieces or the subsequent marking was a factor in the three losses in L.A., Toronto and Chicago and I know that will be addressed in training ahead of these difficult games against Western Conference opposition the rest of the way.
NEXT WEEK: Sportsnet.ca talks to Craig Forrest about the Montreal Impact. Do you have a question you want to ask Craig? Send your queries to John Molinaro via Twitter and he’ll use the best one in next week’s Q&A.