Expect lots of changes to Vancouver Whitecaps next season: head coach

The Whitecaps lost to Seattle last week

Expect lots of changes to Vancouver Whitecaps next season: head coach

Carl Robinson demonstrated with some of his late-season manoeuvres that emotion doesn’t play into his decisions with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The head coach made it clear once again Tuesday at his media availability following the club’s playoff defeat to the Seattle Sounders.

“Lots,” Robinson said when asked how much change he expects to his roster over the winter. ”The league is becoming better and better.

“The standard of player is getting better, so we have to evolve.”

VIDEO: Whitecaps season comes to end with 2-0 loss to Sounders

Picked by many to finish at or near the bottom of the standings after a miserable 2016 campaign, the Whitecaps made it to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and sat atop Major League Soccer’s Western Conference in the final few weeks of the season.

Vancouver wound up third thanks to a late stumble, but picked up its first-ever post-season victory in the knockout round before losing out in the conference semis.

“When everyone writes you off … you use that as motivation,” said Robinson, whose Whitecaps made a 13-point jump in the table. ”Then you get there and you’re always a little bit disappointed when your season ends.

“You always want more.”

The Welshman pointed to a number of players entering their prime as keys to the club’s success moving forward, including midfielders Yordy Reyna, Cristian Techera and Aly Ghazal, defenders Kendall Waston, Tim Parker and Jake Nerwinski, as well as goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

“We will continue to build our young group,” said Robinson, who also referenced teenage sensation Alphonso Davies. ”We will continue to get better players in than we have, and unfortunately that means there’s turnover.”

One player definitely on the way out is veteran ‘keeper David Ousted, who confirmed Monday he won’t be back.

The 32-year-old Dane said he was told in June by the club it wouldn’t be picking up the option on his contract after Ousted declined to take a pay cut.

His fate was further sealed when the 26-year-old Marinovic signed with Vancouver in July and eventually overtook Ousted in the pecking order.

“I’m disappointed, especially with the last couple of months,” said Ousted, who joined the club in 2013. ”It’s the business part of this game.”

A member of the Whitecaps since its 2011 expansion campaign, the status of defender Jordan Harvey is also up in the air with his contract set to run out.

The 33-year-old started 28 games in MLS, but like Ousted found himself on the bench by the end of the season.

“We’ll see what happens,” said Harvey. “I’m really proud to have been a staple and help this city and this club grow.”

Brought in on loan this season, star striker Fredy Montero said it’s likely he will be go back to his club in China as of right now, but remained open to a return to Vancouver if a permanent deal can be worked out.

“We had ups and downs, but I enjoyed my days,” said Montero, who scored 14 times for Vancouver. ”I showed the consistency that’s always been attached with my name.”

The question of money and how much the Whitecaps are willing to spend on players is an almost constant talking point among supporters. Vancouver’s payroll is in the top-10, but remains behind the league’s big boys.

Montero was the highest-paid player in club history at US$1.8 million, but with no guarantee he’ll be back, questions remain what level ownership is willing to invest after falling in the conference semifinals for the second time in three years.

“If you talk to any person in any job, they always want more money,” said Robinson. ”Better players obviously cost more money, but we’ve got a really talented group here.

“We’ve found some really good hidden gems.”

The Whitecaps relied heavily on goals off set pieces and counter attacks this season, often soaking up pressure and allowing opponents to possess the ball for long stretches.

The formula worked a lot of the time, but Robinson came under heavy criticism in the playoff series with Seattle when he deployed a conservative lineup in a scoreless first leg at home.

Techera and Reyna were both hurt for that one, and would start the second leg, but Vancouver registered just one shot on target in over 180 combined minutes in bowing out to the rival Sounders.

“As a coach of any sports team you’re open to criticism,” said Robinson. ”I’m not here to make any excuses. In the last two games against Seattle we didn’t perform very well.”

While there will be a number of changes on the field, Robinson’s job is safe off it, with Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi laughing off a question about the head coach’s future.

“Why wouldn’t he be back?” said an incredulous Lenarduzzi. “There’s no doubt about Carl Robinson. He will be back, and there’s never been any thought that he wouldn’t be.”

—-

Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Aidan See played for the North Island Silvertips during the 2019-2020 season. (PHOTO COURTESY RON HAYES)
VIJHL: Port Alberni Bombers add hometown talent to roster

Junior B hockey club signs Aidan See, Blake Power and Grayson Erickson

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read