Whitecaps forward plays passing game
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Darren Mattocks attempts a shot on Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy during the second half at their game on March 16. The game ended in a draw with a final score of 1-1. (REUTERS)
Part — if not most — of the 22-goal void left by a certain unnamed departed Brazilian striker was expected to fall on the shoulders of Darren Mattocks this year.
And while two games into the season the Jamaican forward has yet to find the back of the net, he has contributed in a somewhat different way.
Assists — two of them. That's already double his career total after picking up just one helper in each of his first two 2014 MLS campaigns. It's part of his game he's looking to make more prominent this year.
"I always know I could supply goals, but now it's really starting to show," Mattocks said. "For me, assists (are) just as important as a goal, if not more important.
"Whether it's setting up my team, or working hard for my team, whatever I'm supposed to do to get the job done for my team I wanted to do."
Mattocks' pace so far this season has been impressive, and it seems like it's only a matter of time before he picks up his first marker of the year.
Sunday's match against Chivas USA saw him set up Kekuta Manneh for the equalizer, reviving a chemistry between two good friends. The sophomore Gambian forward said he connects well with his fellow speedster.
"We know each other's strengths and that helps us," Manneh said, adding that he's just trying to make the most of his opportunity. "We have a lot of quality players and spots are up for grabs. It's been really difficult, even at practice people are vying for a spot."
The team will look to build on their four points so far this season when they head to New England to face a struggling Revolution side. The Foxborough, Mass. squad has lost both matches in 2014 by a combined score of 5-0, so there will certainly be an urgency to their game.
"Credit to them, they've got good guys up front as well, guys that are proven goal scorers in this league," captain Jay DeMerit said. "It's their first home game coming up so we have to be on our toes.
"They have all the inspiration now to put in a good home performance and we have to combat that."