Robson shines in home debut, laments Chiumiento sale

Barry Robson and Landon Donovan

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – While a late collapse ruined a fantastic first-half performance from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a 2-2 draw with the LA Galaxy, Barry Robson’s home debut left plenty of room for optimism.

In midfield, he was at the center of a number of opportunities, bagging his 100th career professional goal in 27th minute, and was involved in plenty more action besides his tally.

The Scotsman didn’t give David Beckham any respect in midfield – clattering into him in more than one occasion – and the pair had an ongoing dialogue throughout the evening’s dramatic affairs.

But Robson insisted it was nothing personal.

GOAL: Robson's first MLS tally

“He’s a terrific footballer and he’s a great ambassador for the game,” Robson said. “A lot of people look up to him. He’s a terrific talent and a nice guy as well. When you’re on a football pitch I’m sure it doesn’t matter who anybody is, and I don’t care who anybody is. So at the end of the day, I’m just trying to win it for my team and he’s trying to win it for his.”

While Robson had shown hints of his capabilities by hitting some excellent long range passes and coming close to scoring in recent matches, in this game he seemed to elevate his performance to another level – a level befitting his Designated Player tag.

“Are you trying to say I was poor before [this match]?” Robson jokingly asked a reporter who suggested this was his first real show of abilities. “I thought the last game I started to come strong, and even the Toronto game I started to feel better. But of course the more football you play the better you’re going to get. But after a two-month holiday and coming in straight in and travelling to four different cities in two different countries, I did alright, you know?”

Despite his experience playing internationally and in the Champions League, Robson says he viewed his home debut as a challenge.

“I’m getting older and I’ve seen it and done it a few times, but it doesn’t make it any easier,” Robson said. “There’s pressure on you wherever you go and I just want to make sure I do my best for the football club.”

Sad to see Chiumiento go

The pair may have only played together for a couple of weeks, but Robson lamented the departure of Davide Chiumiento during an interview with national Canadian broadcaster TSN’s podcast TSN FC, bringing the Swiss international up almost unprompted when asked to evaluate the Whitecaps squad he’s just joined.

“I’m disappointed that Chiumiento has left,” Robson said. “I thought he was a terrific talent. He was a real creative, attacking player – probably the best in our side. Disappointed he’s left, but he’s been able to get a good offer from a top club in Switzerland. I think he’s got family there and obviously, money plays a big part.

“I think it was the right move for him, so you can’t hold people back when they want to do something for themselves and their family so it was disappointing to lose him because he was a terrific talent and I was looking forward to playing with him.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.