Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Great Expectations: Vancouver Whitecaps Daring to Dream Big in 2016

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Great Expectations: Vancouver Whitecaps Daring to Dream Big in 2016

Article excerpt

Vancouver Whitecaps daring to dream in 2016

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VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Whitecaps are dreaming big in 2016.

Following a return to the playoffs two years ago, the Major League Soccer club accumulated a franchise-record 53 points last season en route to finishing second in the Western Conference.

The campaign ended with a disappointing playoff loss but veteran defender Jordan Harvey believes the Whitecaps are primed to go even further thanks to a couple of key acquisitions over the winter.

"Getting the MLS Cup is definitely attainable with the roster we have here," he said. "That's the goal, without a doubt."

Added central defender Tim Parker: "We have very high expectations. We want to win the MLS Cup as much as the fans want us to and the club wants us to."

Despite last season's success, which also included Vancouver's first Amway Canadian Championship, there were too many outings where opponents shut down the Whitecaps' one-dimensional attack that centred around trying to get in behind defences with speed.

It came to a head in a 2-0 aggregate playoff loss to the Portland Timbers where Vancouver failed to score over a 180 minutes of action.

With that in mind, head coach Carl Robinson set out to make his team less predictable by adding a variety of forward-thinking players.

"I've tried to bring in different pieces of the puzzle rather than having two or three pieces the same," said Robinson, entering his third season in charge. "We've got a different dynamic now depending on the situation within the game.

"We've never had that at the club since I've been here."

Vancouver retooled its arsenal by signing striker Masato Kudo and midfielder Christian Bolanos, while also adding veteran forward Blas Perez in a trade with FC Dallas.

Robinson made winger Cristian Techera's stay at the club permanent after last year's loan spell, but waved goodbye to midfielders Mauro Rosales and Geshon Koffie, as well as defender Steven Beitashour.

"You have to find solutions to problems," said the Welshman. "In games there's always lots of problems.

"Last year we didn't quite have enough solutions to the problems that we faced. …

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