Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos criticizes striker Joaquin Ardaiz

Joaquin Ardaiz runs - Vancouver Whitecaps

In search for their striker of the future, the Vancouver Whitecaps made a splash this offseason and signed striker Joaquin Ardaiz as a young Designated Player, on loan with option to buy. 

A decorated player at the youth level with Uruguay but well traveled before the age of 20, Ardaiz came with bags of potential. The beginning of his career in Vancouver hasn't gotten off to a flying start, as the striker has been limited to just 202 goalless minutes across one start in eight appearances.

What does Ardaiz need to do to earn more minutes and reach his potential?

"He needs to learn how to train, he doesn’t have good habits there," head coach Marc Dos Santos told on Tuesday. "If it doesn’t change, it could be very difficult for him in his career. It’s not somebody who always trains in the right manner, but it’s someone with a high level of quality in explosiveness and attacking space. But it’s a player that has a lot to work in and grow a lot.”

Ardaiz has been behind Fredy Montero and, recently, Yordy Reyna in the depth chart for Dos Santos, who has deployed a one-striker formation in his first venture as an MLS head coach. 

“It’s not that he has a bad mentality in training … it’s more about his work-rate," Dos Santos explained. "We talk with him a lot that it’s a part he needs to better. It has to be part of his DNA, that’s very important. Today, if I were to tell you a weakness he had, [it’s that] in his DNA there isn’t a high level of work-rate or high-level of training inside of the standards that we want. That needs to improve—this is just me being very honest with you.”

The Whitecaps, like Ardaiz, have gotten off to a slow start, taking six points from their first nine matches. The club have struggled to score goals, with a league-low 0.77 per game. 

Can Ardaiz be the man who reverses the club's goalscoring woes?