VANCOUVER, B.C. – It’s early days, but deadline-day signing Carlyle Mitchell seems to be quietly impressing the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Trinidad and Tobago international signed for the Whitecaps just before the roster freeze but didn’t join up with the club for practices until last week due to paperwork.
“He’s a good athlete,” captain Jay DeMerit told MLSsoccer.com after training on Tuesday. “Obviously, with the first couple of days, he’s still trying to find his feet, but I think he’ll be a good asset to our squad and as the season goes on we’ll see if he can filter into the team and do his job, because I know that’s what he’s here to do.
The 24-year-old joined the club from Trinidadian side Joe Public, which plays in the TT Pro League and is owned by former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
Scoring has been a problem for the ‘Caps this season, especially off set pieces, so while Mitchell is primarily a defender, the hope is that the 6-foot-1 center back can make the side more dangerous on restarts.
“He’s got a lot of qualities than translate well to our league,” interim head coach Tom Soehn said. “The difficulty is him only being here a week, but the athleticism and his feet – you see a lot of qualities you think you can build off. And he’s very aggressive off set pieces, which you like.”
Mitchell played his first organized match with Vancouver during the club’s 1-0 Reserve League loss to the Portland Timbers on Monday, and the first thing he noticed was the increased pace of MLS.
“The standard was a pretty good standard – faster than my league back home,” he said. “I adapted very good, but made one or two mistakes. But we’ll work on that in training.”
While Mitchell’s determined to improve, he’s also very aware of why he was brought in and what the ‘Caps need from him.
“I’ll bring my defensive skills to this team, which are being strong in the air, defending free kicks and corners and working with the rest of the back four,” he explained. “Attacking free kicks, attacking corners – any attacking corners or free kicks I’ll try my best to get my head onto it.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.