VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps FC were expected be a team that would struggle to score, but suddenly striker has become the deepest position on the team.
Late additions Eric Hassli and Camilo arrived just in time for the start of the season, boosting the club’s front line and shouldering much of the scoring burden along with Atiba Harris. The three have so far combined to score eight of the Whitecaps nine goals.
“I usually don’t care too much about who scores the goals,” said head coach Teitur Thordarson at last week’s practice, “but I must say that I’ve been very pleased to see those guys score because they’ve been brought in to do that. It’s fantastic for me to have these options.”
[inline_node:332114]Hassli, the club’s first Designated Player, has shown his scoring prowess, netting three goals in only 151 minutes of action. The problem for the big striker has been the ability to stay on the field, receiving two red cards in his first three games.
Harris has been one of the most consistent players on the team so far this season. He is one of only three players on the team to start every match – along with Alain Rochat and Jonathan Leathers – and has battled for the full 90 minutes every time out, a drive that has helped the ‘Caps stay in games. He’s also scored two crucial goals – the game-winner in the first game and the first in the rally against Sporting Kansas City.
With Hassli missing, Camilo has played a key role. The 22-year-old Brazilian provides a different dimension than the bigger Harris and Hassli, bringing his dynamic dribbling and playmaking skills to the forward line. He’s taken full advantage of his opportunities too, scoring three goals in three starts and winning the penalty kick that ultimately earned the shorthanded ‘Caps a 1-1 draw against New England Revolution.
Adding to the depth now is 17-year-old prospect Omar Salgado, while Chinese striker Long Tan is also waiting in the wings for his chance.
The mystery now is not who will score the goals, but how Thordarson manages his powerful strike force.