When the members of the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club returned to training at Dhillon Field on Monday morning, they were greeted with the sight of dozens of supporters in the stands, their banners already hung from the railings, and a number of flags fluttering in the breeze. The weather was cold and the sky was gloomy, but still they turned out to support their club.
Despite the weather, which threatened, but never actually turned into rain, the players arrived with their heads held high and smiles all around. They had a lot to smile about. They had just beaten the Sounders in Seattle, won the Cascadia Cup for the fifth time in eleven seasons, and control their destiny in qualifying for the Anschutz Cup and the Champions League.
Already suspended for the next match through yellow card accumulation, defender Kendall Waston was given time off to return home to Costa Rica. We understand that when he returns, it will be with Mrs. Waston.
In any event, the club had planned on today being a light session, limited to just half an hour. But with an audience of this magnitude, Carl Robinson and the coaching staff decided on extending it to an hour and a half.
Carlyle Mitchell, Christian Dean, and Omar Salgado were also absent, as they are still with the Trinidad and Tobago National Team, United States U23s, and on trial with Tigres UANL, respectively.
Pedro Morales was also given the day off, and while it's unusual for a Captain to rest while his teammates train, he can be somewhat forgiven considering that Friday's match was his 47th in all competitions this year.
Academy player Mitch Piraux continued to train with the senior squad, as did Adam Mena, who's been hoping to earn himself a contract after spending the summer with the Charleston Battery.
Gershon Koffie and Caleb Clarke practiced with their teammates. A nagging ankle injury has kept Koffie out of the line up since August, while Clarke has been trying to recover from surgery to correct a ruptured quadriceps muscle.
With only two fit centre backs at his disposal, it came as no surprise to see Andy O'Brien and Johnny Leverón train together.
Jordan Harvey and Russell Teibert limited themselves to running around the pitch, while O'Brien, Mauro Rosales, Steven Beitashour, and David Ousted all took to the sidelines early, watching on as their younger teammates continued to train.
The Whitecaps head to San Jose on Saturday, before returning home to close out the season against Colorado on October 25th.