Whitecaps become a team to fear with Robson signing

February 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 1 Comment

I must say that until the signing of Seba Le Toux I was a bit underwhelmed by the quality of the Whitecaps signings.  Davidson, Nguyen, Bonjour, Watson, Knighton and Mattocks looked like good solid squad players, but nothing really to write home about.  The YP Lee signing made a splash, but would he be fit?

With the signing of  Barry Robson, a player of undoubted quality, and the apparent fitness of YP Lee, three of our off season acquisitions are of high quality.  While Barry Robson has not played at the very highest levels of football, the level he has played at is one of high quality.  How many players get to pull the jersey of Celtic on?   Robson is a player who has experienced the trials of  Rangers-Celtic Derbies. Those games are amongst the most fierce local derbies in all of world football, and any player who can hold his own in such a game can only have the strongest character.  In April 2008 Robson had the guts to step forward and take a winning penalty in one such derby.   According to the site “the Celtic Wiki”, (http://www.thecelticwiki.com/page/Robson,+Barry), Barry was not known for his fine skills, but for his determination and fighting qualities.  Last years Whitecaps team  was sadly lacking such a player.

The other dimension Barry brings is his left-footedness, which defenders often find difficult to cope with.  His strike rate is impressive over his career, and he is not shy about finding the back of the net.  He is able to take free kicks as well.  I look forward to watching Camilo and Robson lining up to take free kicks, with the opposing team having to guess which way the ball will swerve and who will take the kick.

In many respects the type of play in Major League Soccer is comparable to the Scottish Premier League, with a strong emphasis on athleticism and physical play.  Look for Robson to add steel to our central midfield, and watch out for some bone-crunching tackles flying in.  Look for Robson to show up frequently on the yellow cards list statistics, though he is not so out of control to get reds like our beloved Eric Hassli.

With the signing of Robson the Whitecaps have upped their character quotient by many percentage points.  Robson will show opposing teams we mean business, and he will make demands of his teammates to do the same.  He will add a high level of competitiveness and leadership to our overall squad; players in the squad will look to his experience and example.

While Robson may not be a glamourous signing in terms of Major League Soccer designated players, he is a player who, along with YP Lee and Le Toux,  has the potential to take the Whitecaps far beyond what they produced last year.   The only downside is that Robson won’t join the squad until July, well into the season.  However, when Robson arrives look for him to shake up the squad with his no-nonsence attitude and commitment.  I am sure there is many a squad midfielder who now knows they will have to up their game to get any minutes at all once Robson arrives.   Chiumineto, Thorrington, Watson, and especially left-footed Nanchoff must have had a few sober thoughts since his signing was announced.

Finally the Whitecaps are turning into a team other teams will fear.

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  1. A bold prediction — one that I hope is right almost as much as I fear it’s not. It’s still early days, and by week six or seven we should have enough gameplay under the belt to arrive at a more accurate assessment, if only an initial one.

    Last year, the club was either unwilling or unable to field a truly competitive squad. To be fair, injuries and suspensions played a significant role — but then again, how many clubs don’t face the same kind of adversity over the course of season? Some notable improvements have been made, but to be honest I have no indications that it’ll be enough to lift what was a very poor side last year to a .500 record, let alone a solid winning one.

    Lest I sound too dour, I’ll admit there’s reason for optimism — Martin Rennie being a key component in that regard. However, smiley faces don’t win you any matches. I’ll be there at the season opener vs Montreal — I’ll happily order a crow burger at half-time if need be.


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