Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson gestures to fans before first half Canadian Championship final soccer action against the Montreal Impact in Vancouver

Depleted Whitecaps travel to Honduras

Depleted Vancouver Whitecaps take long flight to play nothing game

By Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER – A depleted Vancouver Whitecaps team boarded an airplane Tuesday for a long flight to play a game that means nothing to the Major League Soccer club.

Ravaged by injury, manager Carl Robinson planned to take only 12 or 13 players to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to face CD Olimpia Thursday in a CONCACAF Champions League match. The Seattle Sounders have already won Group F, which means the results of Thursday’s match at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino are meaningless.

“I’m not looking forward to the travel,” said midfielder Russell Teibert. “It’s difficult to understand you are going down to Honduras, all this travel, for a game that essentially doesn’t change things.”

Compounding the situation, the Whitecaps face the Houston Dynamo at BC Place Stadium on Sunday in a match with huge playoff implications. A win would secure the Whitecaps a home playoff game. A loss or draw, combined with other league results, could drop Vancouver to fifth or sixth place and put them on the road to begin the playoffs.

“I’m not looking at Houston at the moment,” said Robinson, who jokingly suggested he might have to dress for Thursday’s match.

The Whitecaps have been decimated by injuries. The list includes midfielders Pedro Morales (hamstring); Mauro Rosales (groin); Nicolas Mezquida (hamstring); centre back Pa-Modou Kah (groin); midfielder Cristian Techera (hamstring); striker Octavio Rivero (Achilles) and striker Caleb Clarke (hamstring).

“Everyone who is fit and available to go, will go,” said Robinson.

In a bid to find some healthy bodies for the trip, the Whitecaps asked if they could dress players from their WFC2 team which plays in the United Soccer League. CONCACAF and MLS denied the request.

Even though he is dressing a squad of mostly younger players, Robinson said his team wants to wave the MLS flag in the Champions League match.

“It’s a great competition,” he said. “We are in the competition for the first time. The timing of it obviously isn’t ideal but it’s something we have to deal with.

“Outside of that, we are dealing with a serious glut of injuries, which doesn’t help us. We are making the best of it. We will make the best of it we possibility can on Thursday and in preparation for the Sunday game as well.”

The Whitecaps used a mostly second-unit squad to defeat CD Olimpia 1-0 at BC Place in September. Robinson expects the Honduran side will be looking to make amends.

“The crowd will be crazy,” he said. “The experience these young boys will get will stand them in a lot better stead for next year.”

Players like 22-year-old defender Christian Dean said the game is a chance to prove their value to the Whitecaps’ management.

“It’s another chance to show (Robinson) we are capable of playing,” said Dean. “They are playing in front of their home fans so it’s not like they aren’t going to come out and try hard.

“We have to be ready for it. We have to take the game by the horns and go full throttle.”

Forward Robert Earnshaw, one of the few veterans making the trip, disagreed there was nothing at stake.

“There is pride, which is bigger than three points and bigger than a Champions League game and all of this,” he said.

“There is pride, there is career, there is our own ambition to be ready for a game. It’s a game of football. We have to be ready as a team. There are no days off. It always means something.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey councillors say halt policing transition as 2,000-plus workers laid off

City of Surrey has reportedly laid off 1,900 part-time auxiliary workers and 140 full-time employees because of the pandemic

‘Shocking decision’: Surrey soccer club won’t offer refunds to 350 teams for cancelled tourney

Registration fees would top $171K for Surrey Mayor’s Cup, called off due to COVID-19

Boundary Bay Airshow latest Delta event cancelled due to COVID-19

Airshow joins the Delta Triathlon, Tour de Delta and North Delta Family Day on list of cancellations

Thousands of ‘PPE’ donated in Surrey, where one care home is ‘preparing for the worst’

SafeCare BC’s Operation Protect drive involves drop-off dates in Guildford

White Rock announces more COVID-19-related changes to parking

Additional, temporary measures about safety, access: mayor

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Captain America joins friendly Abbotsford Spider-Man to take down trash

Local garbage crew bringing smiles to city amid pandemic

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Most Read