Nolly, Davies, and Knight Sign on for Whitecaps

November 27, 2010 at 1:46 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps In MLS | Leave a comment

For us long time Vancouver Whitecaps supporters, seeing some of the old boys from the previous Swangard era sign on for the new Major League Soccer team is warming to the heart.  For one thing, it demonstrates that we have not been just fiddling about by going and watching the Whitecaps play at Swangard: the football we watched was of a high quality.   Furthermore, it is great to see one of the best players for the Whitecaps since 2008 has been signed: Jay Nolly.   Nolly has been a consistent keeper and has noticeably improved his game over three seasons with the Whitecaps, in which the Caps won one title, played in a final and, got knocked out of a semi-final.  Jay does occasionally make mistakes, but generally he is solid between the pipes. Jay needs to be more commanding with his defenders, however. A good keeper marshals the team in front of him with his voice. Jay is too quiet. Nevertheless, I expect him to start the season next year with Joe Cannon looming large in the background if MLS experience is needed, should Jay falter on the big stage.

Wes Knight has been superb for the last two seasons with the Whitecaps, playing both at fullback and outside midfield.  He is a magnificent physical specimen,  and keeps himself very fit.  He has a deadly long throw, which can be a great offensive asset, as Stoke City have demonstrated in the English game.  The Whitecaps have not exploited Knight’s long throw as much as they should have, but I am sure it will create goals in the MLS.  Knight is as hard as nails in defending and his work rate is beyond reproach.  His attitude from day one has been impeccable and it is clear by the way he had conducted himself that he has the right attitude as a professional footballer to play at the MLS level.

Phillipe Davies is a rarity in Canadian football: a creative dribbler of the ball who can beat men in a one-on-one situation.   I suppose the player who he somewhat resembles in Canadian and Whitecaps football is Carl Valentine: a winger who tries to beat defenders to get crosses into the box.   Of the three players signed today, Davies is the one who is still a diamond in the rough.   He is nineteen years old.  He will need to improve several aspects of his game.  For a start, his shooting skills are pitiful: when he gets a chance in front of goal he looks as if he has never seen a football before in his life.  Modern football teams need to get goals from players in all positions, so he will need to practice his finishing skills.   He will also have to improve his crossing skills and be able to deliver pin-point crosses which challenge defenders and create goals.   Davies only broke into the Whitecaps squad as a regular starter mid-season this year, and has been an absolute delight to watch.  Lets hope he does well, because he could easily become a star of Canadian football.  The Whitecaps are looking to the future in signing Davies, but in my view he is worth the risk.

Good luck to the old boys!

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