Vancouver Whitecaps' Omar Salgado apologizes to Carl Robinson, teammates for storming off field

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Omar Salgado was a picture of frustration when he was substituted out just past the hour mark in the Vancouver Whitecaps' 0-0 draw at Chivas USA this past Saturday.

The 20-year-old striker was making only his second start for the 'Caps over the past two years, following a couple of injury-ravaged seasons, and chose to ignore handshakes from his teammates and coaching staff as he ran back to the bench.

In isolation, not such a big deal, but for Salgado, the incident was the latest in a series of perceived attitude issues borne out of the young striker's frustration at missing so much playing time.

"It was emotional. It was never against [head coach Carl Robinson]," a contrite Salgado told reporters at training on Tuesday. "I was upset, more frustrated, that things weren't going our way. It was difficult to break their line and coming off I was feeling like it was opening up and I was just like, 'Damn, I might have been able to score then.'

"I'm just an emotional person, I guess. I like to bring out the passion to the field and, yeah, sometimes I get a little frustrated and, yeah, I don't direct it in the right way. It was a mistake I should fix. It shouldn't come out that way. I apologized to the team."

Robinson has had to deal with a couple of similar incidents involving Salgado this year, along with a couple of training-ground flare-ups between the former No. 1 SuperDraft pick and his teammates. But the coach is fully aware of such pitfalls that come with a young squad with different maturity levels, all of whom are looking to play regular minutes. It's how they respond to such situations that are important to him.

"Omar apologized to me after the game," Robinson confirmed at training. "I said at the time it wasn't acceptable. Dealing with 22, 24 young players in a locker room, you're going to get your ups and downs. I can deal with someone not shaking my hand and stuff like that but it doesn't happen again. I made him aware of it.

"It's about the group, it's not about any individual and we move on, and now he's got to get his head down and work hard and show that he deserves to be part of this squad again."

Vancouver's striking options are currently limited, so while Salgado's attitude is not acceptable to the Robinson, he's not prepared to give up on him as a lost cause just yet.

"Young players makes mistakes. You're right, he has made three or four mistakes and he has got to learn sooner rather than later. ...

"He's apologized to the group and I've said to the guys, every one of them is going to be in a situation where maybe it doesn't go their way. On Saturday, it didn't go Omar's way. He was frustrated with his performance but he handled it the wrong way. He's dealt with it, we've drawn a line under it and we move on."