BURNABY, B.C. – Be careful what you Tweet.
On Thursday Long Tan became the second Vancouver Whitecaps player to get shipped out of town this season shortly after a Twitter incident, as he was traded to D.C. United for a third round pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
Major League Soccer’s first-ever Chinese player attracted head coach Martin Rennie’s ire a couple of weeks ago when he took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time and the club’s unwillingness to let him leave if they weren’t going to use him.
That earned the forward a club-imposed suspension during which he was compelled to train solo.
Fans will remember a similar social media misstep during pre-season when Lee Nguyen called Whitecaps backup goalkeeper Brad Knighton a homophobic slur, and of course it wasn’t long before Nguyen was placed on waivers, eventually moving on to the New England Revolution.
And speaking of waivers, rarely used midfield Floyd Franks is also on his way out after being waived. Franks made two substitute appearances in MLS this season, and made one start in the Canadian Championship, but never looked like a serious contender for a starting position.
Given the timing of this move to let Franks move on, it shows just how far down on the depth chart he was. As it stands John Thorrington and Jun Marques Davidson will miss the match on July 4 against the Colorado Rapids due to injury and suspension, respectively, so if ever there was a time for Rennie to use the midfield pit bull this would have been it.
Franks and Rennie have a long working relationship, as the pair worked together with the Cleveland City Stars and Carolina RailHawks before making their way to Vancouver.
“It’s more the fact that he wasn’t in our team,” Rennie told reporters on Thursday at Burnaby Lake field.
“He’s a player that’s used to starting pretty much every game over the last five years and he’s a guy who really wants to be starting and to be playing, and I can understand that. At this point we don’t see him getting into the starting lineup so that was the decision we made.”
As a result of these moves, the Whitecaps have three free spots on the roster now to add players as they see fit.
Mattocks disciplinary woes continue
Darren Mattocks has been a bit of a revelation with his goal-scoring ability and blazing speed, but he’s also finding himself becoming a regular on the wrong part of the stat sheet.
The Jamaican now has five bookings over his first seven MLS matches, including the double booking on June 16 against the Colorado Rapids which forced Vancouver to play with 10 men — a match the club ultimately won by surmounting an admirable 1-0 victory.
“We talk to him about everything with his game,” Rennie told Sportsnet.ca on Thursday when asked about Mattocks’ latest yellow card.
“His movement, his timing, his runs, his finishing and not getting silly bookings — standing up at the right point and making sure he’s not in bad positions — but five [cards] in seven games… I didn’t realize it was that many!”
Martin MacMahon is a Vancouver-based writer who covers the Vancouver Whitecaps FC for Goal.com. Follow Martin on Twitter