Injuries, busy schedule testing Whitecaps depth, character: coach

One ‘Caps player hoping to figure into the Red Bulls game is Felipe Martins

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos isn’t surprised at the injury bug spreading through his roster.

After all, it’s been a hectic month for the Whitecaps (3-6-4). On Wednesday, the squad will play its fifth of seven games in May when they visit the New York Red Bulls (5-5-2).

A number of key faces will likely be out of the lineup including centre back Doneil Henry, who suffered a hamstring strain in Vancouver’s 1-1 draw in Kansas City on Saturday.

“It’s very demanding the schedule of MLS and these injuries are going to happen,” Dos Santos said after his team trained in Kansas City on Monday.

“But it also tests the type of roster and depth that you have. And it also gives the opportunity for guys that really want to show that they belong and they deserve minutes to show what they’re made of.”

Lesser-known players have started to step up in recent matches. Rookie centre back Derek Cornelius came off the bench in Saturday’s contest and put away a goal in injury time to help the ‘Caps secure a crucial road point.

With so little time for players to recover, Dos Santos anticipates some more roster juggling will be necessary on Wednesday.

“We always said that everybody’s going to be important in stretches like this,” the coach said. “It challenges the depth that we have and the type of character that we have.”

One ‘Caps player hoping to figure into the Red Bulls game is Felipe Martins, who played 100 matches for New York before he was traded to Vancouver for centre back Tim Parker in March 2018.

The midfielder left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury but said he’ll be ready to play again come Wednesday. It would mark the 28 year old’s return to Red Bull Arena.

“When you play against your former team there’s always extra motivation,” Martins said. “I’m going to be looking, for sure, for the three points and to help my teammates.”

Martins added the Red Bulls have shown growth recently, winning four of their last five games.

“That’s what I expect from New York — a team that fights from the beginning to the end, a team that’s going to give everything every time they step on the field,” he said. “And I’m pretty sure we’re going to be ready for anything they throw at us.”

The Whitecaps know New York has a cannon in Bradley Wright-Phillips, who was third in Major League Soccer scoring last season with 20 goals. But the team isn’t concerned about any particular player, Dos Santos said.

“The ball scores. The ball goes in and makes a difference. So we prepare inside our model, inside our principles,” he said.

“We’re aware of their dangerous players but we don’t focus on one guy and just that. We focus on what we do as a team collectively and we’ll be ready on Wednesday.”

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (3-6-4) VS. NEW YORK RED BULLS (5-2-2)

Wednesday, Red Bull Arena

DEFENSIVE OFFENCE: Whitecaps centre backs Derek Cornelius, Erik Godoy and Doneil Henry have four of Vancouver’s 12 goals this season. Henry was the first ‘Cap to put up multiple goals this year.

SCORING BY COMMITTEE: The Red Bulls last 11 goals have come from 10 different players, including forward Tom Barlow who scored to lead a short-handed New York squad to a 1-0 victory over Atlanta United on Sunday.

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: Four of New York’s five wins this season have come at Red Bull Arena.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Mary Lowther column: Pre-sprouting corn in paper towels

My new packet of spinach didn’t grow when I put the seeds directly into potting soil

Sarah Simpson Column: Diving into Dahl with my darlings

“Why don’t we pull out the Roald Dahl collection we got a couple years ago?”

Renovated Lake Cowichan town hall will include emergency operations centre

Upgrade project expected to be complete within months

Business notes: Realtors raise $10,000 for Nourish Cowichan

The latest from Cowichan’s business community

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

White-throated sparrows have changed their tune, B.C. study unveils

Study marks an unprecedented development scientists say has caused them to sit up and take note

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Most Read