Sports Soccer

Vancouver Whitecaps find togetherness: coach

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson.

Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. (CARMINE MARINELLI/24 HOURS)

Offensive threat may not be what immediately comes to mind with this year's version of the Vancouver Whitecaps. But if coach Carl Robinson had it his way, he'd rather go with "togetherness."

Asked what has stood out so far through preseason — after the club spent about a week training in Casa Grande, Az. — the first-year manager was quick to point out the "spirit between the boys."

"We're going to go through tricky phases throughout the season," Robinson said this week. "I know that, we know that, and it's important that we stay together united as one. If we can get that collective mentality installed in them now, which I have from Day 1, then we'll be successful as we go along."

The Whitecaps will head to Portland on Friday for the Rose City Invitational, which will see them play their three final preseason matches in seven days. They take on Jamaican side Portmore United FC on Sunday before facing the San Jose Earthquakes next Wednesday. Then they close out their visit against the host Timbers on March 1.

Meanwhile, the Whitecaps are looking to both trim down their roster — with Robinson admitting it's "tricky" to train with 31 players — and adding more players — as the rumour mill churns this week.

"We're always looking to strengthen," he said. "I've made no secret of that. How quickly we're able to get someone in depends on a number of factors, but we're looking on a daily basis to strengthen this group."

As for cuts, he adds: "Over the next week, and even in Portland, then we'll make final decisions." 

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