Teitur Builds Team in his Own Image

April 10, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2009 | Leave a comment

After having won the USL-1 Championship on his first go, Teitur Thordarson (TT) took a radical step: he tore the heart of the Whitecaps team right out by firing Jeff Clarke, Steve Kindel, and Alfredo Valente.  The Caps also saw their MVP, Eddie Sebrango,  leave for Montreal for family reasons.  TT stamped his authority on the team by letting these senior players go.   Of the three, Jeff Clarke was the best, and, more than the other two, his dismissal was a shock.  These four players were key to the Championship win last year.   They featured heavily in the final and in the knockout rounds leading up to the final.   

TT now has the opportunity to build a squad in his own image.  The off season has seen a considerable strengthening in the ‘Caps defensive power.  Marco Reda has come over from Charleston.  Jeff Parke has been added from DC United of MLS.  Justin Thompson has been signed after a few years in Portland.  TT has also re-signed big Wesley Charles who was key to the ‘Caps success last year.    

The Caps will need defensive strength because there will be a lot of younger players blooded this year up front and in midfield.   Now that the Caps have secured a MLS team, their emphasis will switch to preparing younger players for their big debut in the MLS.  Orgill, Edwini Bonsu,  Gage, and others will have to get playing experience before moving up a league.  The next few years will prove the worth of the Caps residency program.    We will see if the younger players that have spent time in the program will step up and realise their potential.  All indications are that the program is working well.  The Residency team is thorugh to the semi-finals of the Dallas Cup, having beaten sides from River Plate in Argentina and Mexican side Monterrey.  

The new boys will be helped along by veterans Nash , James , Gbeke, and Hirano who will have to hold their own in the face of younger talent.   Competition for places is key to a successful soccer team.  I think the competition will be fierce this year.

Whatever the line-up, TT will be under pressure if it does not start well.  If it does not start well, he will face harsh criticism from those supporters who have appreciated the work of Clarke, Kindel and Valente over many years.  

There is apparently a bit of an injury crisis in the camp, so it could be a bit of a surprise line-up for Charleston.  I will be interested to see how fit the team is, given the trip to Tanzania.  Hopefully the games there will give us a fitness edge over Charleston. 

For myself, I am raring to go, and look forward to seeing the young players cut their teeth in the fast physical game that is played in the USL-1.  Seeing Ethan Gage play so brilliantly in the semi-final and the final was one of the great joys of last years Championship run.   Lets hope he has learned to shoot in the off season!

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