Many pro soccer players relish the moment when they’re counted on to carry their team.
For others, such as Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks, that responsibility is a burden of sorts – but one he acknowledges he has to bear.
“It’s not something that I like,” Mattocks told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Friday when asked about whether that added pressure is something he enjoys. “But I think it’s something that I’ve been managing really well for all of my career.
“It’s something that I usually thrive on and do really good with added pressure.”
Certainly this weekend the Jamaican will be counted on against FC Dallas (Saturday 8:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live), most likely as a starter for the first time in two matches, with fellow forward Corey Hertzog missing due to concussion symptoms and Kenny Miller resting in Vancouver with a hamstring injury.
“It’s much more added pressure for me to produce up front,” Mattocks explained when asked about what those absences will mean. “I’m willing to do that. I know it’s tough, but it’s something I have to do because I’ve been put in this situation to do it.”
It’s been a slow start for the speedy 22-year-old, having scored just once from five appearances. This after an electric rookie season in which he scored seven times in 21 starts and added a playoff goal in Vancouver’s first round MLS Cup playoff defeat to eventual champions LA Galaxy.
Mattocks isn’t the only one misfiring for his club, however, as the ‘Caps have only scored seven times from their first six matches.
Never short of confidence, though, Mattocks feels in any given game he can explode and score multiple times.
“For me, every game is a chance to show what I’m capable of doing and win my spot,” Mattocks said. “Obviously it’s not been going the way I’ve planned this season but I can’t look too much into it. It’s only a couple of games into the season.
“We’ve got still like, 20, 30 games remaining in the season. It’s a long season. At any point I can score two, three goals in a game and take it from there.”