VANCOUVER, B.C. – While Russell Teibert’s brace rightfully dominated the headlines following the Vancouver Whitecaps’ 3-1 win against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, the other goal scored on the night could prove even more important. If it gets Darren Mattocks going, that is.
The Vancouver camp hopes the stoppage-time effort, scored just moments after yet another frustrating miss, will finally get Mattocks going after a stretch filled with game after game of gilt-edged opportunities which came to nothing.
“It was important for him,” Nigel Reo-Coker told reporters at BC Place following Saturday’s match. “It’s always important for strikers to score, especially after they go through a bit of a goal drought. ... I told Darren you’ve got to keep going, for 90 minutes you’ve got to keep going, your chance will come and you’ve got to take your chance.
“He took his chance and now hopefully that’ll give him confidence he can get on a bit of a run now and get the momentum and the belief.”
That insurance goal for Vancouver was just Mattocks’ second of the season, which is disappointing for a player who stated his aim was to hit the 20-goal mark before the season.
Head coach Martin Rennie, ever one to focus on the positives, feels this rough patch will ultimately make the 22-year-old Jamaican a better player after having a relatively easy time in the college ranks, where he scored 39 goals in 47 matches over two seasons for the University of Akron.
“People always want to avoid adversity and they think that adversity’s a bad thing, but adversity’s the kind of thing that builds character,” Rennie said. “It’s the kind of thing that makes you stronger. It’s the kind of thing that if you approach it properly with your life you learn and you become better.
“No player is going to become a very good player or a top player without facing setbacks and knowing how to overcome them.”
As for the player himself, Mattocks has been trying to stay upbeat during his rough patch and kept his own recent woes in context – happily bringing up some of the world’s best strikers who have had their own dips in form.
“Some of the best strikers in the world – we’ve seen [Robin] van Persie go 13 games…without scoring a goal,” Mattocks said. “And he’s a world-class player, so anyone can go through droughts. But I’m not finding excuses.
“I just have to keep working on it – I’m very relieved that the goal has come. I just have to keep working hard and be focused.”