Whitecaps manager has high praise for Salgado

Making his first career MLS start, No. 1 SuperDraft pick Omar
Salgado may have just given head coach Teitur Thordarson more to think about.

Quiet for most of the match, in the blink of an eye Salgado
showed why Vancouver’s coaching staff is so high on him, snapping a header into
the back of the net to score his first MLS goal in a 2-1 loss to Columbus Crew.

“That [goal] means a lot, especially for him,” Thordarson
said. “That’s his first MLS start and he scored a fantastic goal, but he also
played very well.”

That was the second time in recent weeks that Salgado has
proven his pure striking ability. In Vancouver’s reserve match against Chivas
USA two weeks ago, the lanky 17-year-old demonstrated great patience to finish on
a breakaway. That killer instinct is precisely the reason why the Whitecaps
took him first overall.

The 17-year-old was in line for more playing time with Atiba
Harris out with a knee injury, and he showed that he deserved it on
Saturday.  Without big striker Eric
Hassli, the ‘Caps knew that they were going to be in for a tough match against
the Crew.

“Coach talked to us before the game and told us that we
weren’t going to have much possession in the first half,” Salgado said. “He
said we’re going to have to defend and not get scored on and be patient.”

That strategy looked good after 45 minutes of play as the
teams went into the break knotted at 0-0. However, things fell apart for
Thordarson’s men early in the second half when a pair of mistakes led to a 2-0
lead for Columbus.

“It was frustrating since they hardly had a chance on goal
the first 45 minutes.” Thordarson said. “We made two mistakes and that changes
the whole thing.”

With the match looking like it could get ugly for Vancouver,
Salgado’s ignited the visitors, and for the first time the ‘Caps resembled the
attacking team that fans have been accustomed to watching at home. The young
prospect was very active in the latter stages of the game and nearly tallied a
second goal to level the match shortly after his first, but was denied by Crew
goalkeeper Will Hesmer.

His energy was a welcome addition to a Whitecaps team that
has yet to gain a point away from the friendly confines of Empire Field.

“He did a lot of good things and maybe should have scored
more goals,” said Thordarson of Salgado. “I think he did extremely well.”

Hassli will most likely return to a starting role next
match, as his ability to hold the ball in the attacking end has been sorely
missed in his absence. However, Salgado’s performance may make Thordarson think
extra hard about whether to stick with Hassli and Camilo up front or go with
the hot hand and give his young No. 1 pick another start.