VANCOUVER, B.C – With the 2013 season rapidly approaching the Vancouver Whitecaps will be leaning heavily on 2012 leading goal-scorer Darren Mattocks. The 22 year-old, Jamaican striker found the back of the net on 7 occasions last season, in his rookie year. Vancouver had expected big contributions from Eric Hassli and Sebastien Le Toux but once both players left town Darren Mattocks became the go to guy for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Whitecaps won’t say it, but the road to success for this team runs through Darren Mattocks. If he can improve on his brilliant rookie season the Whitecaps should have no problem making the playoffs. If he comes out of the gate slow and suffers another early season injury the Whitecaps could be closer to the Western Conference basement than the penthouse. The weight of the world must be on Mattocks shoulders but if you ask him he doesn’t quite see it that way.
“I don’t say there’s a lot of weight on my shoulders but I think there are very high expectations of me especially as a rookie last season leading the team in scoring. I would say that’s my number one job, to carry this team on my back in terms of goal scoring, but I think we have a lot more depth this season, so it’s going to be much easier. I’m still looking forward to getting the job done this season.”
Darren Mattocks is the fastest player on the team, once he can get past defenders the only thing stopping him from scoring is an outstanding goalie, and himself. Mattocks foul trouble is something to keep an eye on this coming season. Last season Mattocks earned 7 yellow, and 2 red cards. You simply can’t have your best attacking player sent off or suspended for a foul that surely he doesn’t need to commit. With Mattocks out of the lineup the Whitecaps are a completely different team. Mattocks doesn’t seem interested in picking up more needless cards in 2013.
“I think I’ve grown so much and learned so much about things that I did last season. I made all those corrections in the offseason so no more for me.”
The only time Whitecaps fans will see Darren Mattocks leaving the pitch is during a substitution…?
“A substitution yah.”
Kenny Miller should add to the success of Mattocks this season. When Kenny Miller came into the Whitecaps lineup halfway through last season he struggled immensely. Having shown up fit to training camp, Miller is certain to be a huge help in the growth of Mattocks and the many other young faces in the Whitecaps lineup. Having a month of training camp abroad in Casa Grande, Arizona, and Charleston, South Carolina will help build much-needed chemistry between the pair. If Martin Rennie chooses to start Mattocks and Miller upfront, the Whitecaps will have a duo that will create nightmares for opponents.
The Whitecaps newest signing is Japanese playmaker Daigo Kobayashi. He will play the no. 10 role for Vancouver. Kobayashi will play a significant role in creating long balls for Mattocks, and Miller to get after. The Whitecaps haven’t had a decent Attacking Midfielder since Davide Chiumiento left for Zurich. It will be interesting to see if Kobayashi can quickly adapt to North America and the Whitecaps style of play. Kobayashi has a friend in Jun Marques Davidson from their playing days together at Omiya Ardija, in Japan in 2006 and that should help him adjust to his new team.
The Vancouver Whitecaps offense goes through Darren Mattocks. Kenny Miller, Camilo, Koffie, and Kobayashi, will play a significant part in the Whitecaps success this season, but everything goes through Darren Mattocks. The Whitecaps will go as far as Darren Mattocks can take them.
Notes: Darren Mattocks scored a hat-trick in the Whitecaps 4-1 pre-season win over the New England Revolution and also added a goal against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday before being subbed off due to an injury scare. Mattocks has switched numbers and will now wear No. 11.