Posts Tagged ‘MLS Jon Erice’

Erice - Hero

VANCOUVER, B.C – Where is Jon Erice? The Whitecaps FC midfielder has been noticeably stapled to the bench over the course of the last month. The Vancouver captain has found himself on the outside looking in. In the last seven matches across all competitions, Erice has been on the field for a total of 150 minutes. He has made just two starts, and gone a full ninety minutes just once since July 7.

In the first two months of the MLS season, Erice started 10 of the first 11 matches. He was a vital piece of a developing Whitecaps FC midfield that was looking to find chemistry with all the new faces on the team.

In 19 MLS appearances, Erice has 2 assists this season.

Despite not seeing the pitch in Vancouver’s nil-nil draw at Minnesota, and 2-1 win over FC Cincinnati, Erice hasn’t lost his focus. He is determined to buckle down, and do his best to get back into Coach Marc Dos Santos starting eleven.

“Ohh my confidence is very high,” Erice explained to Har Journalist. “It’s a question of the coach who takes the decision to put in other players. This is part of football, this is nothing special for me. It’s not the first time I’m in the bench. My job now is to work hard in training, and try to help the team from outside.”

“We are twenty-two players,” Erice added. “We have four, five, six midfielders, all the players are playing, and they are doing good in the last game, so I have to wait my turn again, and work hard. It’s part of soccer. We are twenty-two players, and everybody deserves to play. Now it’s the moment of other players, and as a teammate I will support them.”

The La Liga product was acquired by Whitecaps FC in January 2019, from La Liga 2 side Albacete Balompié. Erice’s experience has seen him play football all over Europe, but that also means he has a lot of kilometres on his 32-year-old legs.

Erice absence from Whitecaps FC’s most recent matches might not be down to his form of play, but how his body is recovering after a hectic calendar year of playing football.

“He has a good mentality, he’s a professional,” Dos Santos explained. “He’s a player that understands the game. He understands the moment. I think that he looks tired for us. In July he had a preseason in Spain, did half a season, and came here. He hasn’t had a break for thirteen months right now. We question if that, at his age has hit him. We feel maybe he needs a little bit more of a break.”

The transfer of Felipe Martins to D.C. United earlier this week, could open up a spot for Erice to get back into Vancouver’s lineup. It’s not cut and dry. You will be hard pressed to find a manager who will tinker with a winning lineup.

Unbeaten in their last two matches, Whitecaps FC could turn to other options.

“It’s a game at a time,” Dos Santos said. “Maybe yes, maybe no. For now, InBeom is an option to play against Portland. If the door opens, he (Erice) could come back in. It doesn’t change the fact that we feel that there’s a little bit of fatigue there, that we need to manage.”

Finding yourself on the sidelines, not playing, is enough to drive any athlete up the wall, but that’s not Jon Erice. He is enjoying life in MLS, and his first season with Whitecaps FC. Erice and his family expect to be in Vancouver long term.

A native of Pamplona Spain, Erice, is earning $752,364 in guaranteed compensation this season.

“Yes, yes, I have two years contract with the club. Another one year, and an option. If they want me to be here, I will be very happy to be here for a long time.”

On Saturday, Whitecaps FC will put their 5-11-9 record on the line against a 9-9-4 Portland Timbers side at Providence Park in another Cascadia derby match. Vancouver beat Portland 1-0 on May 10, at B.C. Place earlier this season.

MLS Soccer - Los Angeles FC v Real Salt Lake

VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC are back in action on Wednesday night as they host high-flying LAFC at B.C Place. The top team in MLS, brings a 6-0-1 (19 points), record to take on a Vancouver side, 0-4-2 (2-points), that’s still looking for their first win of the season.

The visitors won’t make it easy for a Whitecaps FC squad that has scored five goals this season, and none in the last 189 minutes at home. LAFC’s Carlos Vela, leads MLS with 8 goals, 5 assists, 41 shot attempts, and 16 shots on target. Vela is an early season MVP candidate. As if he weren’t dangerous enough, Diego Rossi has 6 goals to his name.

“LAFC is coming in with some big guns,” Russell Teibert explained. “They know how to score goals and they’ve proved that early on this season. They’ve got one of the hottest player in MLS, if not two. If you want a test, if you want a statement game. This is the game that you want to play.”

How do you put a silencer on a duo that’s caused so many problems for the opposition?

“I think you answered the question yourself,” Teibert laughed. “You put a silencer on it, isn’t that what a silencer is for? You know they’re going to get the ball. You’ve just got to limit the areas where they do get the ball.”

Whitecaps FC skipper, Jon Erice knows exactly the type of quality Vela brings. He remembers a young teenager on loan in La Liga, looking to make an impact during the 2007-08 season. It was many moons ago, but Erice quickly noticed the talent, and skill, Vela had.

“Carlos was a very good guy,” Erice recalled. “He was young when he came to CA Osasuna, on loan from Arsenal. He was a very good guy, and he was also a fantastic player. With Real Sociedad, he was one of the best players in La Liga. We enjoyed him a lot in La Liga.”

“His level now, I think is the best level in his career,” Erice continued. “He’s mature, and he knows what to do all the time, with, and without the ball. He’s so clever in the field, and has such quality. He has improved a lot in the last fourteen years. He was a great player, and now he’s one of the best… maybe in the world.” 

Whitecaps FC Head Coach Marc Dos Santos is still looking for his first MLS win. What a feat it would be to do that against the team he was an assistant coach with last season. Having the inside knowledge that Dos Santos has with LAFC, could make all the difference. If there is a blueprint for LAFC, there’s a good chance Dos Santos has it in his memory bank.

“We know exactly what they’re going to be about,” Dos Santos explained to reporters earlier this week. “We know exactly how we can hurt them, but then we need the execution to come. You can know the places that will hurt them, and the places where they are weak. You need to make sure the first pass that gets into those places is good, and the runs are good.”

“One thing is to know, and the other is execution. We know their strengths and some are very obvious. The pressure that they put is very very high. Players like Carlos and Diego, they have fourteen of the nineteen goals they’ve scored. It tells you right away, that if those two guys are in a hot night, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

Whether or not Vela, and Rossi light up Whitecaps FC, or Vancouver sends LAFC to their first defeat. It’s going to be a hot atmosphere inside B.C. Place. A restless fan base wants to see wins, and the pressure is mounting.

“You’re putting pressure on us, and we want that pressure,” Teibert admitted. “We know we only have two points, and we know we are going to be better. If we want to make a statement in this league, to you guys, and ourselves. This is the game we need to go out and win.”

“Of course we have pressure,” Erice agreed. “We are professional players, but this is normal in soccer. If you don’t want to feel pressure, maybe you have to do something different.”

LAFC have been playing consistent ninety minute football, and Vancouver hasn’t been able to put that type of effort together. It’s up to Whitecaps FC to show they can compete with the best team in MLS, or it could be a long evening.