Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jasser Khmiri heads the ball away from Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod during a match at Providence Park on Feb. 22, 2020 in Portland.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Spo/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

The Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping that young legs will lead to improved results as their 10th season in Major League Soccer kicks off on Saturday night.

Vancouver finished 23rd overall in the 24-team league last season with a 8-16-10 record. A raft of off-season changes has the Whitecaps entering the new year with an average age of 24.1, the youngest team in MLS.

“I’m bringing the average up, which is just wild to me,” laughed 25-year-old defender Jake Nerwinski, who is starting his fourth season with the club. “I think that we have a lot of good young guys. We had a really good preseason, worked on a lot of things that we needed to. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to fly.”

Story continues below advertisement

The Whitecaps posted a 3-2-1 exhibition record as the club worked to establish its aggressive new high-press playing style, using the counterattack to create chances by pressuring opposing defences.

In preseason, that offence was led by new designated player Lucas Cavallini. The 27-year-old Canadian striker, who has played abroad for the last 11 seasons, was acquired in December from Club Puebla in Mexico’s Liga MX for a record transfer fee.

For midfielder Russell Teibert, who has been with the Whitecaps since the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011, success in 2020 will come from a united effort.

“I think you’re going to look at the team as a whole,” he said. “From the 11 starting and the guys coming off the bench, I’m talking about the mentality. We want to show the teams in the league and our fans that we’re really going to go for it this season.”

Now in his second season with the club, coach Marc Dos Santos acknowledged that he was “in the dark” at this time last year, as he scrambled to assemble his opening-night roster.

“This year, I know exactly what I’m getting from our guys,” he said after Thursday’s training session at UBC’s National Soccer Development Centre. “I know the group and I know the core. As a club, we’re ready much more than we were last year.

“Now, is that going to translate to a win, draw or loss? I don’t know. But I’m confident that we’re going to do well, and we’re ready for this game.”

Story continues below advertisement

The preseason has left Axel Schuster, the Whitecaps’ new sporting director, cautiously optimistic.

“I was really happy with a lot of things I saw in the three Portland games,” he said. “There are so many good moments in those games that I feel we have a good basis right now, but not more than that. Because on the other side, and I will be always critical until we reach the 100 per cent. And the 100 per cent – that’s far, far away. There are a lot of things we can improve in every game.

“So the base is good. I think we are prepared for the start, but not more than that.”

Sporting Kansas City touches down in BC Place after finishing 11th in the Western Conference last season, four points ahead of Vancouver. The club has amped up its attack this season with the addition of Mexican forward Alan Pulido.

“It’s the same type of Sporting Kansas City of the last seven, eight years,” Dos Santos said. “A team that likes to press, based in that 4-3-3. Aggressive. Likes to have the ball. Now, maybe with Pulido they have a reference that is more important.

“But man, I’m confident with the guys we have. They’re going to have problems also with us.”

Story continues below advertisement

Teibert agreed with his coach.

“There’s a real mentality shift,” Teibert said. “I think that’s the biggest thing that sticks out.

“Guys are hungry. Guys want to give something back to the fans because they deserve it.

“We want to be a team that excites them this season.”

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies