As the 2015 season is now just a couple of days away, the excitement is building. We’ve had a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday in the build up and today we take a look at what the Vancouver Whitecaps will be hoping to achieve this season…
The Vancouver Whitecaps endured a close-run 2014 season, making the playoffs by one point in the Western Conference and they are going to have to be at their best if they are to stand a chance of repeating that this campaign. Although the Whitecaps fell at the first hurdles in the playoffs to FC Dallas, they have plenty to build on and look in good shape going into 2015. Head coach Carl Robinson has a few new faces as the squad has been rejigged somewhat, but he faces a tough task in guiding Vancouver to back-to-back playoffs in what is a fiercely competitive Western Conference.
Last season’s finish: Western Conference position: 5th – P34 – W12 – D14 – L8
The Whitecaps managed to avoid defeat in 26 of their 34 games last year, which is strong form, but they conceded far too many goals. Ending the 2014 season with a +2 goal difference highlighted their inability to shut teams out, which is what cost them in their playoff game against Dallas. This could be a transitional season for the Whitecaps, but they have retained the services of playmaker, Pedro Morales, who enjoyed a good first season in MLS with 10 goals and 12 assists. This season Vancouver should attempt to build a squad around their top goalscorer, but need their forwards to pitch in with more strikes.
Ins: Diego Rodriquez – Defender, Pa Modou Kah – Defender, Ben McKendry – Midfielder, Deybi Flores – Midfielder, Marco Bustos – Midfield, Octavio Rivero – Forward
Outs: Jay DeMerit – Defender, Johnny Leveron – Defender, Andy O’Brien – Defender, Carlyle Mitchell – Defender, Bryce Alderson – Midfielder, Sebastian Fernandez – Midfielder, Mehdi Ballouchy – Midfielder, Omar Salgado – Forward, Mamadou Diouf – Forward
Key Player: Pedro Morales – Midfielder
Pedro Morales‘ first season in MLS was impressive. He was involved in 22 goals, scoring 10 with 12 assists. He is given a similar role in the side to that of Lee Nguyen with the New England Revolution and his free role allows him to dictate play in the final third. The 30-year-old midfield ace has a wealth of experience which his teammates can learn from and he will be at the forefront of everything good for Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015.
One to watch: Octavio Rivero – Forward
The 23-year-old forward has clearly caught the eye of the Whitecaps, resulting in him joining the side as a Designated Player this offseason. The goalscorer has impressed playing for his three previous clubs, Central Espanol, Rentistas and O’Higgins. We eagerly await to see how Octavio Rivero fares in his first season.
Predicted finish: Western Conference – 7th
It is going to be a very tough task for the Whitecaps to reach the playoffs in 2015. In an ever-improving Western Conference, the additions of the Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City only make things tougher and they are two sides who will be competing closely in the table with Vancouver. It is set to be a tough campaign and it will be a tricky for the Whitecaps to make the playoffs yet again.
What are you expecting from the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2015?