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  1. REPORT: Another game in Portland, another win. It's getting all so predictable! A Vancouver Whitecaps side made up of fringe players and youth put in a dominant first half performance and a shaky second in a 3-2 victory over Norwegian side Stabæk at Piggy Park on Wednesday evening. First half goals from Nicolas Mezquida and a Darren Mattocks brace set them on their way and there was no looking back, although the 'Caps failed to add to their tally in the second half and were pegged back after conceding two sloppy goals. Mostly, it was just what Carl Robinson wanted to see, fight and hunger
  2. REPORT: Vancouver and Portland served up a fiery friendly on Sunday night in their first game of the 2015 version of the Timbers annual preseason tournament. Two sending offs, eight bookings and 43 fouls later, a first half Pa Modou Kah header was what separated the teams on the scoresheet, as the Whitecaps kicked off their defence of the tournament with a 1-0 win. The Whitecaps went for a strong starting line up, and one that wouldn't look too much out of place against Toronto for First Kick, and their performance did their cause a lot of favours. Portland certainly started the livelier an
  3. "The group are very lively, they've very competitive," Robinson told reporters after training on Thursday. "They're disagreeing on certain things, which is good, but they're talking and when you have a young group of players it's important that they communicate with each other respectfully. "We're coming along slowly, but nicely. If we can add one or two more into the picture then that will help us as well." So just how close or how far away are the Whitecaps from where he wants them to be right now? "I'm probably never where I want to be, in relation to the group and how good we can be," R
  4. What makes a team successful? Talent, skill and the ability to produce that on a consistent basis are clearly important ingredients. But other vital components to the mix are that of harmony, trust, respect and relationship building. All of those attributes, and others, help make a successful environment at a football club. Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson is a firm believer that how you handle your players off the pitch contributes massively to how they perform on it. "It's an absolute must in the game, in modern day football," is how Robinson views the importance of building p
  5. The Good: Long term stability I know this is a new concept for Canadian MLS teams, but having a coach stay more then one or two seasons can only be good for the team. Robinson came in last season and laid out a long term plan for the club that involves a big effort from producing regular talent from the Residency to building talent from South America. This plan isn't a one to three year plan. This is a long term five to six to ten year plan that should make the team and Canadian soccer better over the long term. By signing Robinson, Forrest, Pert and Rovde to extensions, it gives the player
  6. LA have splashed out on Steven Gerrard, New York City on Frank Lampard (they think), Orlando on Kaka and Toronto like to be linked to every player under the sun as the perennial losers try and find someone that can lift them out of their eight year slump. All big names, all coming to MLS on big money. They're probably not big risks in bringing success, but you never know and as Robinson addressed last week. "Money doesn't guarantee you success, as you've seen with a number of clubs," Robinson told reporters, whose minds obviously started to think of TFC. It's a Pavlov's dog scenario I think.
  7. One month later and Banjo is in the pro ranks with the Whitecaps. It's quite the story and turnaround for the 22-year-old and one he didn't think he'd ever see coming. "It's a dream come true," Banjo told AFTN. "I've been working at this for years and it's a great feeling for it to finally come true. Banjo still remembers the shock and heartbreak of the meeting that broke the news that Towson were axing their soccer program. Staying on and finishing his degree was the only option he seriously considered, even if it meant no soccer. A meeting with UMBC head coach Pete Carinji Jr convinced him
  8. "That was part of my plan coming in to the draft," Robinson admitted during a conference call to local media on Thursday afternoon. "To try and get the best player available, of course, but it had to have some substance and I needed to know what positions I was slightly weak in. Obviously losing two centre backs was an area, and we addressed that. The wide areas, Kay can fit into that if need be or if we're able to bring someone else in. It was a very promising draft for us." You never know how players are going to adapt to the professional ranks. Can they make the grade? Can they hack going
  9. Rodriguez comes to Vancouver as an unknown quantity. He spent three years with La Liga side Malaga, making 42 appearances for their reserve side and scoring five goals, before returning to play with Uruguayan Primera Division side Juventud last season. He's not exactly a household name in Uruguay, never mind Canada, but his highlight video (which we'll put at the end of this article), experience and his obvious skillset certainly seems to indicate that he has what it takes to be a success in MLS. The proof will come on the pitch of course. Robinson identified Rodriguez on his scouting trip t
  10. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 20,000 other shows HERE. Or after all th
  11. While others in MLS go down the route of bringing in big name and big money signings, to varying degrees of success, the Whitecaps have gone with a lower key and in-house development approach. Some critics accuse them of being cheap. That was an accusation surprisingly levelled by some out east following the signing of young DP Octavio Rivero last month. But if we're being honest, you're not going to get the likes of Kaka, Frank Lampard, or Steven Gerrard coming to Vancouver to play on a horrendous fake pitch week in and week out. You might not even see them coming here when their teams actua
  12. And there's still time to continue my Carlton Cole rumours and start a new Robbie Keane one. Have a listen! You can listen to this, and all previous, episodes of the podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we're on Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen
  13. Have a listen! You can listen to this week's podcast on iTunes HERE. Or download it for your later listening delight HERE. We also have an iPhone app, so you can now add our podcast to your phone as an app. Visit the podcast's mobile site HERE and then at the bottom of the screen just click the "Quick Launch" icon and the podcast will be added to your home screen and appear as an app. And if that's not enough, we've joined Stitcher Radio Network. Download the app and listen to the AFTN podcast on your device, along with over 15,000 shows HERE. Or after all that, you could just listen on t
  14. Rennie used that April radio interview to blow his own trumpet for his achievements with the Whitecaps and to clearly have a not-so-veiled dig at what Robinson would have to achieve to be classed as what he felt was a successful replacement. "I kind of feel fine about how it ended," Rennie told Matt Sekeres in the interview. "I think that as a coach, you always think that given more time you could do more with it. The team I inherited was the worst team in MLS. It improved quite a lot in the first year and it improved again in the second year. "I felt that when I started we were probably abo
  15. Carl Robinson has already indicated that the Honduran will get the start for Waston, ahead of other choices Christian Dean and Carlyle Mitchell. It's a bit of a downgrade on Waston in terms of aerial presence, but then who wouldn't be?! Leveron though bring a calm, steady and usually reliable mindset to the backline. Just what the Caps could be needing in what could be a night of hot heads in Northern California. "He's ready, he's fine," Robinson said of Leveron's return to the team. "Johnny lost his place, not because he was playing poorly but because he went away with the national team, so
  16. If the Timbers get chopped down at home to RSL, then a victory at Buck Shaw Stadium, where they haven’t won in four attempts, would see the Whitecaps in the playoffs with a game to spare. A game where they can either try and keep momentum going against a defensively woeful Colorado side, maybe even grabbing some confidence boosting goals in the process, or rest up some key or close to suspension players like Pedro Morales. A Portland point against Salt Lake, would see them jump ahead of Vancouver on the tiebreakers, but the ‘Caps would then just need at least one point of their own against th
  17. "It's vitally important," coach Carl Robinson told reporters on Thursday. "Getting into the playoffs is the first goal that we set and if you manage to get in then it's being in form when you're hitting the playoffs. You see, year in, year out, a number of teams that get into the playoffs, sneak into the playoffs, when they're not playing very well end up going out. "It's important that focus is maintained. It's important that you do get a bit of momentum going into the playoffs because it is a lottery when you get there. It's just a one off game or a two-legged game if you get past that firs
  18. Or are they right? Have the Whitecaps not been getting some decisions of late? Are the football gods still angry at games being played on fake grass under a closed roof? (Or is that just me?) Is all it is going to take is getting in the groove and then just watch these uncoiled springs go? I’m a firm believer that you make your own luck in football, and life. Every team can look back at the decisions that didn’t go their way, the calls they didn’t get, and of course some of them can cost matches and vital points. Are the Caps just getting a spell of these calls of late or are they simply not
  19. We hear from those homegrown signings, Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese about their new MLS deals and we get the thoughts of Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson on the pair. Those were the only two signings announced on Monday before the MLS roster freeze and Whitecaps President Bobby Lenarduzzi tells us why and talks about the USL Pro situation, the season run-in and more. Keeping with the young theme we hear from Christian Dean about his first MLS start in last week's game against Dallas and from the guy that scored Vancouver's goal down there, and who everyone hopes is going to go on another strea
  20. "They're fantastic signings for the club," Robinson told reporters. "I'm absolutely delighted to get those two on board, especially now with a couple of months to go till the end of the season because it's important. It's important for them to get to grips with what it's like being a MLS professional, getting used to the environment for January when they come because it's the progression I want as the manager of the club as well as what the club want. "I think it's important for the growth of this club that we see players coming through regularly. Not just one year, every three or four years,
  21. There's a new king in town. Long live King Carl. Carl Robinson was officially confirmed as the new Whitecaps head coach today, so we're bringing you a Robbo heavy episode 31 of "There's Still Time", the AFTN Vancouver Whitecaps podcast. We chat about Robinson's appointment, what it means for the future direction of the Whitecaps and hear a cutdown section of his introductory press conference. Even though he had a jam packed morning, Carl made time to sit down with Steve and myself for a special podcast chat about his appointment, his managerial influences, who he might have his eye on to br
  22. The move has surprised many, with Vancouverite Yallop expected to be a shoe-in for the Caps coaching job, ticking all the boxes that club's now infamous committee are looking for, in particular experience, success in MLS and a history of bringing on young players. You have to feel that the lure of an actual job offer was far better than playing the waiting game for what was a dream job in his hometown. We can only speculate as to whether Yallop expected to be installed by the Whitecaps right away and didn't want the uncertainty when it became clear he wasn't going to be without a full intervi
  23. We're launching our new series: Inside the MLS, today/tonight. The focus is on news/happenings on key figures around the MLS. Our first subject is Carl Robinson, ex of Toronto FC...now with the New York Red Bulls. In this interview, Carl and Red Nation discuss his recent training camp with Red Bulls, his upcoming MLS Season with New York, the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement between the MLS Owners and Player’s Union, as well as some of his thoughts on a variety of topics related to his time with Toronto FC. http://www.rednationonline.ca/podcast.shtml#carl
  24. A look at the Robbo situation amongst other issues: http://www.rednationonline.ca/exit_carl_stage_left_mar_8_10_column.shtml
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