Nine points from four matches should be enough to put a smile on almost anyone's face, but Vancouver Whitecaps FC aren't just any club. They know they could have led Toronto FC by two goals at halftime on Opening Day. They know they left it late against Chicago Fire SC, Orlando City SC, and most recently, the Portland Timbers. And they've made mistakes, but they are the kind that can be corrected. Vancouver has left a lot of goals on the pitch, and if they can bury just a few more of them, then they will be challenging on all fronts.
A quartet of the young players had to miss training, but with good reason. They were loaned out to the reserve side, which defeated Austin by three goals on Thursday night. Caleb Clarke has gone into the books as the man who scored the first ever goal for Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
Darren Mattocks is still away with the Jamaica National Team, and there was a lot of talk of incoming player Cristian Rafael Techera Cribelli. As of this writing, the loan with an option to buy has been confirmed by CA River Plate, but the Whitecaps aren't expected to unveil him until sometime next week.
Known as Diablo, the 22-year old Uruguyan likes to play on the left, but isn't afraid of playing up top. And if you're wondering how good a 5'2" player could be, then look no further than Real Salt Lake's Joao Plata. In fact, during training, Diablo was described to us as a meaner version of Plata. If we could, we'd take a double order of that.
As for today's training session, el Capitán looked very good as he fought Kianz Froese, Deybi Flores, Tim Parker, Diego Rodríguez, and Nicolás Mezquida in a series of one-on-one battles. Mauro Rosales and Gershon Koffie did some work with the physical therapists before they ran laps around the pitch.
And Octavio Rivero was named as the Major League's Player of the Month for March, although ever so humble, he thought that Kaka should have won it.
This is the third time that a member of the Whitecaps has earned the award, with Camilo Sanvezzo having taken home the honours in July and October of 2013.
Vancouver returns to action on Saturday at BC Place when they play host to the Los Angeles Galaxy, and there will be a short turnaround, as Columbus Crew SC will be in town for a Wednesday tilt with the Whitecaps.