VANCOUVER, B.C – Omar Salgado is a talented 19 year-old from El Paso, Texas. The Whitecaps tall and soften spoken winger hasn’t seen very much time on the pitch since the Whitecaps drafted him 1st Overall in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. Have the Vancouver Whitecaps misused and rushed back an often injured Salgado when he simply wasn’t ready? That is the question on the minds of many Whitecaps fans everywhere.
“No, I think they manage me very well. It was all my foot’s fault I guess… it didn’t heal up, and that’s not their fault, that’s my fault.”
Just like you would expect Omar Salgado has nothing but positive things to say when talking about his injuries, and his treatment from the Vancouver Whitecaps organization. You still have to wonder why a player as highly touted as Salgado hasn’t made a major impact on the field.
Salgado first fractured his right foot while playing for the United States Mens U-20 team on June 6, 2012, and missed 4 months of MLS action.
He returned for the final Whitecaps home game of the 2012 season and played the final 13 minutes of a game against the Portland Timbers. Unfortunately Salgado broke his foot in practice a few days later, missing the final regular season game and the Whitecaps lone MLS playoff game.
The second fracture to Salgado’s foot dramatically altered his offseason training plans. Salgado was unable to properly train during the offseason and had a lost list of lingering issues to overcome during the pre-season, and leading up to the Whitecaps home opener against Toronto FC. As a result of having to wear a boot on his foot Salgado had to face other “normal” problems because of that.
“Other normal things that usually come with it like an Achilles, hamstring, and everything else. Really, on the right leg it just kind of dies a little and you have to bring it back to life.”
With Jay DeMerit rupturing his Achilles, tendon in the opening minutes against Toronto FC one would think the Whitecaps are prone to rushing back players when they’re not ready…. or is it simply a case of bad luck.
Salgado should not have played against Portland last season, and Jay DeMerit should have been sat against Toronto FC. In hindsight it’s easy to question the Whitecaps medical staff, and the green lights that were given but how do you say NO to a player that feels fit enough, and really wants to play for their team.
According to Salgado if he was rushed back early it was all because of himself and not because of the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“That could have been it… it was three months and I came back in three months. That’s what the doctors said so in that way I didn’t rush back but at the same time sometimes it takes longer so I might have rushed back on my own.”
Salgado is just coming off his first week of full team practices. Whitecaps Coach Martin Rennie had some kind words when asked about how Salgado’s fitting into the team after a long recovery process.
“He’s coming a long really good. This week is his first full week of training and he’s been working hard. He seems to have to that kind of extra edge to him to work extra hard, and get himself back so that’s encouraging to see. It’s hard coming back from an injury, and it takes a lot of work, and effort but he’s putting effort in. I’ve been really impressed, and I’ve been really pleased by how he’s done.”
During the offseason rumours surfaced that Omar Salgado would be traded from the Whitecaps to Chivas USA. While his value is not at its highest peak right now, Salgado is a terrific young asset who when healthy could be a dynamic player. Salgado heard about the Chivas USA rumours and had this to say about them.
“I asked the coaches about it, and they just told me they were all rumours and that none of it was true. I’m happy here, and if I’m needed here I’ll always be here to play. This is my last year here in contract so hopefully I can get a lot better in my last year.”
Whitecaps Coach Martin Rennie isn’t one to discuss trade rumours with the assembled media, however he did comment on the possibility of Omar Salgado going out on loan this season.
“He won’t go on loan, I’m pretty sure he’ll be a key player for us this year.”
Omar Salgado is a player who has had a lot of bad luck in his tenure with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
If Salgado can ever get 100% healthy he should be able to contribute to the Whitecaps this season. In the 5 games that he started last season he looked like he was starting to get his stride playing as a winger.
However, it won’t be easy for Salgado to get playing time.
He has tough competition in crowded Whitecaps locker room that includes the likes of Camilo, Matt Watson, Kekuta Manneh, and Erik Hurtado all pushing for minutes.
Salgado is young and he has a bright future ahead of him even if it isn’t in Vancouver. Salgado would like to stay in Vancouver beyond the 2013 MLS season but sometimes it isn’t up to the player.
“I love the city, I love the fans, I really want to play here as long as I can, and hopefully score a lot of goals this year.”
Notes: If Omar Salgado is healthy the Whitecaps will allow him to play for Team USA at the Mens U-20 World Cup in Turkey this summer.