At 15-years-old, Alphonso Davies (white jersey) promises to play a key role in the Vancouver Whitecaps' future. (Photo: Mexsport)
VANCOUVER, Canada – Facing an uphill battle to earn a place in the Major League Soccer playoffs, the Vancouver Whitecaps still have a few things for which to play this year.
They can still accrue points in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League to position themselves for a top seed in the knockout round.
Many of the players will be fighting to remain with the club for the 2017 season.
After his team dropped a 1-0 decision at the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, head coach Carl Robinson admitted Vancouver's chances of reaching the post-season were diminishing. The Whitecaps (9W-7D-14L, 34 points) sit in eighth place, six points off the playoff pace with four games remaining in the regular season.
"We haven't had the luck we needed," Robinson said. "We haven't taken as many chances as we should've and we've lost points on the board. The commitment of that lot has got to continue for the next four games, because if you want to be here, you've got to show that commitment."
Vancouver, which hosts the Colorado Rapids on September 24, probably will have to run the table to reach the playoffs.
"For sure, it's something that we're definitely capable of," remarked Jamaica international Giles Barnes stated. "If the results go that way, we can make the playoffs and make a strong charge for the cup."
The team still can help its SCCL destiny.
The Whitecaps (3-0-0, 9), who clinched the Group C crown and a quarterfinal berth with a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City (0-1-2, 1) last week, will host Caribbean champion Central FC (0-1-1, 1) on September 28. A win would mean an unblemished record and the possibility of obtaining the top seed in the knockout rounds.
Looking further ahead, Robinson is considering holding his 2017 preseason camp in England rather than in North America.
"Obviously it would be great," Canada international defender David Edgar said. "Teams [are] in mid-season. You get to eat, sleep and breathe football over there and watch the top teams in the country play. It would be a real change from the normal."