David Ousted buys into attacking style
Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted (centre) during pre-season training in Vancouver on Wednesday January 29, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)
Goalkeeping battles are nothing new to the city of Vancouver, nor to the Whitecaps. Since joining Major League Soccer, there's been Jay Nolly and Joe Cannon, then Cannon and Brad Knighton, and then Knighton and David Ousted.
Now, with the first week of the club's pre-season nearly over, the lone man standing to guard the Whitecaps net is Ousted. And with no one to legitimately compete with him for that starting job — as the 28-year-old is the lone Vancouver ‘keeper signed to an MLS contract — there’s an urgency to bring in a backup, according to head coach Carl Robinson.
Then again, he doesn't want to "rush into a decision we'll regret."
"David knows he's going to be my No. 1 goalkeeper," Robinson said this week. "If you got that confidence in your manager, then it's a good start. But having said that, it's down to him to perform, make sure he stays on the team. I want healthy competition for places, that's the key to it all."
The Whitecaps do have three other goalkeepers at training camp, including Simon Thomas who was their third-string last year, but is here this time on a trial. Marco Carducci, 17, and Nolan Wirth, 19, are part of the club's residency program.
Being handed the starting job doesn't change the mindset for Ousted, who said he'll "never be anybody who just sits back and just thinks the job is mine."
However, his preparation for this season did change, having had time to get settled — which was not so much the case last year when he joined midway through the campaign.
"It's a lot different coming in now," Ousted said. "It's just preparing yourself and getting used to things over here. You try to come into the new season as strong as possible, and getting used to the attackers over here and how they play, and I feel we're on top of it."
After signing with the Whitecaps in June, the Dane eventually won the starting job from Knighton. He finished the season with 16 goals allowed in 13 starts with four clean sheets.
This year, new bench boss Robinson has stressed he wants the ‘Caps to play an attacking style. What that means for Ousted is a need to be stronger with his passes, and help his team on the counter.
"I have to be ready to play with my feet and help the team be offensive as well," he said. "I feel that I'm the first attacker because I can set up people with good balls out, and long throughs — that's something I'm trying to improve as well."