Whitecaps sign goalie to push Ousted
The Vancouver Whitecaps must face the frightening David Beckham (left) and the Los Angeles Galaxy in a one-game knockout on Thursday. (Reuters)
Switching from the hot weather of Arizona back to the wet downpour of B.C. wasn't the only change for the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday.
The team also added goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi to plug a hole in behind starter David Ousted. Signed by the club after two seasons with the Chicago Fire, the 25-year-old Garbagnate Milanese, Italy native is expected to play backup. But that doesn't mean he's settling for that role — not to mention he'll be battling Marco Carducci as well.
"I will do my best in the field," Tornaghi said Tuesday at the University of B.C. "It's great that a team can have a couple of good goalies that can push each other."
Having made nine regular season MLS appearances — with one clean sheet — one of Tornaghi's notable attributes is his play with the ball at his feet, which helps with the attacking style coach Carl Robinson wants to implement.
"He's very good with his feet," Robinson said. "He works hard and comes to work every day and wants to get better. I'm developing a squad that wants to push every day so he fits in.
"It was a right deal for us. I wanted to push David … with the emergence of Marco as well. If we do that, we got a good energy amongst the goalkeepers, then we're in a good place."
Kenny Miller was also taking part in practice, albeit more so jogging off to the side. The striker has missed all the team's pre-season games, dealing with quad issues but is aiming to be ready when the Whitecaps kick off their season on March 8 at BC Place against the New York Red Bulls.
"That's definitely in my sights," Miller said. "The next two and a half weeks are obviously crucial that I get back and get some game time.
"When you have an injury that you've had, the quad … you have to work on that to build it back up."
Robinson, though, isn't so sure about the Scottish forward playing in the opener.
"We're not pushing it too much, he's an important player for us," he said. "I'm not going to risk someone who is 50-60% fit come first game of the season because I would be very naive if I did that."