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Robson flashes quality, and rust, in mixed debut vs. Rapids

Barry Robson hugs Darren Mattocks

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Barry Robson may not have played a competitive match in more than two months, but he showed glimpses of his quality – as well as rust – in his Vancouver Whitecaps debut.

Playing 57 minutes in Vancouver’s 1-0 away win over the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night, it took him just four minutes to put the fear into the home side with a fizzing effort from distance just over Matt Pickens’ goal.

“If you get that room you’re going to try and hit it from there,” Robson told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “But I think after that, they kind of marshaled me and tried to take me down every time I touched the ball after that.

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“It was a bit frustrating, but as I said, if they keep doing that and get a booking, they can’t do it after that. Hopefully, I can get in those spaces and try and maybe score a couple of goals for the team.”

MatchCenter: Vancouver topple unlucky Colorado

Playing at altitude and in extremely hot and humid conditions, it was an extreme introduction to Major League Soccer for a player accustomed to playing in British winters.

“I come from a country where I’ve been playing in quite cool weather all the time – a lot of frost and snow and rain and wind,” Robson said. “So it’s something totally different. If I was a bit fitter and had a few more games, I’d fare a bit better, but the three points is the most important thing and I’m glad we got that.”

Still, it wasn’t a dream debut – the midfielder showed a bit of rust in the 14th minute, lingering too long in possession before being stripped by Martín Rivero. The Argentine then found Conor Casey in a dangerous position, but the US international fired just wide, missing the bottom right corner by inches.

Despite that hiccup, his teammates know they’ll have a potential game changer once the Scotsman gets his legs under him.

“I was telling him this was probably the worst game you could introduce a player to [MLS],” goalkeeper Joe Cannon told TEAM 1410. “Colorado, on the road, in this heat. It’s pretty funny. But you can see he’s got a game. I’m not worried about him. He’s going to come along.

“It’s great for us that he can come in, get introduced to the squad, and in LA [against Chivas USA on Saturday] probably get some more minutes and just keep going from there.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.