The more things change, the more they stay the same

Four years, it's been four years since the Caps left USL for greener pastures. They waved goodbye to Swangard, so long to Marcus Haber, and bid adieu to the likes of Rochester and Austin. On Tuesday, they returned to those roots.

Once again, Swangard was filled with thousands of cheering supporters. But instead of an MLS game, they were on hand to watch the Whitecaps train. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, there were only a scattering of clouds in the sky, and a soft breeze took some of the heat out of that sun.

Marcus Haber, now a fully fledged Canadian international with nine Caps to his credit, was on hand, working on his fitness as he looks for his next challenge after spending the last four years in Britain. Could he be heading for his third stint with the Caps? The club says he's just here to train and work on his fitness, but stranger things have happened.

As this was a sponsored "Open Practice", there were festivities, a master of ceremonies, prizes, music, and more. And there was much reason to celebrate after a pair of solid performances against the resurgent Toronto FC and the ever-ready Real Salt Lake.

 Marco Bustos shows off the skills that have caught the attention of the Chilean U20 side with a beautiful overhead kick.

Marco Bustos shows off the skills that have caught the attention of the Chilean U20 side with a beautiful overhead kick.

Currently, the Caps are tied for fourth place in the West, though Los Angeles does have two games in hand. A win against Dallas at home on Saturday would see them surpass the Texans, though Salt Lake and Colorado have matches in the interim.

Jay DeMerit continued to train with physiotherapist Graeme Poole, though everyone else took part in full training, including Andy O'Brien, who hasn't seen action since a June encounter with the Montreal Impact.

Andre Lewis was back from Charleston, though he's come for treatment, and saw no part in today's training.

Perhaps spurred on by the supporters, Omar Salgado had some aerial tricks up his sleeve, but not to be outdone, Marco Bustos performed a textbook overhead kick that beat the keeper, but nipped just over the crossbar.

Erik Hurtado continued with his fine run of form, showing off the skills that made him a starter for nine straight games. Christian Dean, with an obvious desire to crack the starting eleven, was an absolute beast, winning balls, keeping it in play, though the 'referee' didn't always agree with him.

Above all, the players were in high spirits, laughing and joking with one another, feeding off the atmosphere created by the supporters, and generally having a great time. With the squad in this kind of mood, it's the perfect time to face an old rival. Dallas will have to be up to their old tricks, and bring a few new ones, if they hope to beat this on Saturday.

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