2013: the year of Darren Mattocks

January 8, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | 3 Comments

The 2012 season began with tremendous excitement and success, and then fizzled out into mediocrity and even poverty. Sure, we had the thrill of our first playoff game, but the fact is the Whitecaps were one of the poorest teams in MLS by the time that playoff game rolled around. Mid-season personnel changes de-stabilized the team, and Coach Martin Rennie proved unable to turn the renewed squad in any kind of positive direction.

The one player who gave us a sign that the team still had a heartbeat was Darren Mattocks.

Please stay away from the deep fryer, Darren

Please stay away from the deep fryer, Darren

Mattocks was chosen second in the 2012 Super Draft behind number one pick Andrew Wenger, and openly boasted he should have been chosen first. He set out to prove his case last season, after looking promising in pre-season play. Unfortunately, Mattocks then hurt himself in a dreadful cooking accident, and had to sit out the early part of the season while he recovered from serious burns.

Frankly, Mattocks’ prideful boasting about how good he was and the subsequent cooking accident made him seem like a bit of a clown; when he started his first match for the Whitecaps in late May against the Seattle Sounders he looked like one. In that game he had a number of good chances, but squandered those chances in an embarrassing way. Had Mattocks been as good as his brag, he would have put those chances away.

I thought he would have to eat some serious humble pie and admit he was not yet ready for this level of play, but the Jamaican striker then went on a midseason tear which made me wonder what his season could have been had he not fricasseed himself early on. Mattocks proved to be the revelation of the Whitecaps 2012 season, eclipsing the much vaunted (and much expensive) Kenny Miller. If things go according to plan for Mattocks, Miller might find himself on the bench looking on with the rest of us.

Once he got that bad game against Seattle out of his system, Mattocks proved himself to be a natural striker who could hurt other teams in a number of ways. He took advantage of defensive errors on a number of goals, notably in Colorado and Salt Lake, proving himself to be like an alert bloodhound for scoring opportunities. He showed he could leap over defenders and the outstretched arms of goalkeepers when he performed a miracle leaping header in Toronto. He proved himself to have a fine touch for finishing in the playoff match against LA with his one-touch slide-rule goal. He also has enormous pace, and timing with that pace, which can allow him to breach any back line in the MLS. He ended the season with 8 goals (and 1 in Canadian Championship play), not a bad tally for a man who did not play a full season. The number one draft pick Wenger scored 4 goals in MLS action for Montreal.

While Mattocks’ purple patch of goal scoring faded towards the end of the 2012 campaign with the rest of the team’s fortunes, and on-field discipline problems kept him out of the line up on a number of occasions (he had 7 yellow and two red cards), Mattocks showed he had the ability he bragged about. As far as I am concerned, Mattocks must be considered our presumptive number one striker for matches in 2013.

I believe 2013 will be remembered for being the year of Darren Mattocks. If Mattocks can stay away from his deep fryer and keep fit, I think he has the ability to be the star of 2013 for the Vancouver Whitecaps. He has proven he can score lots of goals in many different ways. If he can start scoring early next season, and if Camilo can use his new-found ability to pass the ball to his teammates to set Mattocks free, It could be a banner year for Mattocks and the Whitecaps.

Mattocks was right, he should have been drafted first in 2012.

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3 Comments »

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  1. And avoid getting sent off….

  2. From the frying pan… into the fire!

    Nice piece. Gotta agree. Showed MUCH more last year than Miller did. Like you say… if the Bakin’ Jamaican can stay healthy… it should be a great sophomore season.

  3. Of course, the other horse in the “What if xxx hadn’t happened last year?” sweepstakes this season will be Omar Salgado. His season more or less got wiped out by a foot injury, and he never really had the chance to put a full season under his belt.


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