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Vancouver Whitecaps must make do without Jamaica-bound Darren Mattocks

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps must make do without Darren Mattocks for their next two Major League Soccer matches, but will crucially have him available for the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final against the Montreal Impact on May 29 before he departs.

The five-times-capped 22-year-old has linked up with the Jamaican national team for a training camp in the Bahamas as the Reggae Boyz prepare for World Cup qualifying matches next month against Mexico, the United States and Honduras.

READ: Camilo shines up top again for Whitecaps

Mattocks could face English side Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday in his country’s friendly match with the EPL team, and despite his absence from the Whitecaps, the call-up is something Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie feels will benefit his young star.

“It gives him confidence that he’s in their national team,” Rennie told MLSsoccer.com recently. “He’s well rated and regarded by their team. The first game he’s playing is against Tottenham, so that will be quite an exciting opportunity for him against a top Premiership team and some fantastic players – a team that’s had a good season.”

After Jamaica’s friendly match with Spurs, Mattocks will head back to Vancouver for the second leg of the ACC final before heading back to link up with his national team for the qualifiers – that means the speedster will miss the Whitecaps’ trips to New York and Seattle on June 1 and June 8, respectively.

READ: Decades-long rivalry between Vancouver and Montreal

Though in the short term the ‘Caps will have to play without Mattocks, who has struggled with just two goals from 10 league appearances in 2013, Rennie hopes the extra high-level matches will help his player round out his game – pointing out there’s still work the player needs to put in to improve his hold-up play, finishing and off-the-ball movement.

“I think that’ll build confidence and give him something to look forward to,” Rennie said. “He’s been working hard and he is improving all the time. I think he’s got lots of raw talent. He just needs to keep working on his game, but he’s already been an important player for us, and playing for Jamaica will help him a bit more.”