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Friday
Mar022012

Preseason Primer - Forwards

For the fourth and final piece of the Preseason Primer segment, we will have a look at the forward group going into the 2012 season.  An impressive collection of talent up front is in stark contrast to the squad last year, where Atiba Harris went down with injury early, Hassli’s early season form dried up, and Camilo was the only consistent offensive threat.  With the players on hand this year to lead the line, the ‘Caps could roll 4 four different strike partnerships and still create havoc in the attacking third.  Rennie will likely shift players into the midfield or out wide as he seems fit; either way, on paper we are as deep as a philosophy convention.   

For parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series, click on the following links: Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders

Name: Etienne Barbara
Position: Striker
Birthplace: Pieta, Malta
Bio: Another FCRUMR on the roster, Etienne "Hanna" Barbara is clearly a favourite of Coach Rennie from their Railhawks days, and rightfully so.  He certainly brought home his share of hardware during his Carolina tenure, from winning the Golden Boot for club and league in consecutive years, to taking home the league MVP award as well.  It is no wonder that the Caps signed him despite already having a glittering array of attacking talent on the squad.  As versatile as he is talented, Rennie may use him up front as either the target man, withdrawn striker, or out wide as a winger.  If he can transfer over his NASL form to MLS, his ability to take players on with the ball at his feet and cool finishing skills should be a treat to watch…once he is healthy.  Barbara will be on the sidelines for another two months while recovering from a sports hernia.  
Twitter Account: Unknown
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #FCRUMR, #coolasamaltesebreeze, #hannabarbara


Name: Omar Salgado
Position: Forward
Birthplace: El Paso, Texas
Bio: The first overall pick in the 2011 MLS Superdraft, the Whitecaps surprised quite a few people by taking him over more MLS-ready players.  Tall and lanky, he has yet to fill into his 6ft 4 inch frame.  Although showing glimpses of his potential last year, he struggled to compete with the bigger/stronger/experienced defenders he was coming up against.  Fortunately, he does have time on his side, but may have limited opportunities again to impress as he is playing behind some quality strikers.  Of concern down the road the possibility of European clubs wanting his services which may lure him to the Old World before he realizes his potential in VanCity.
Twitter Account: @Omaresalgado
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #relaxiamonly18


Name: Camilo Sanvezzo
Position: Forward
Birthplace: Presidente Prudente, Brazil
Bio: Some think he is the inspiration for “Camilo” by Vancouver based indie band Said the Whale.  Had the band been paying attention though, they may have called their song “Sanvezzo” instead, as that is the name he wound up using on the back of his jersey due to a combination of miscommunication with the team, and some good ol’ fashioned superstition.  Fans really didn’t care what his name was as long as he kept putting the ball in the back of the net in 2011.  After renegotiating his contract in the offseason, Camilo is about as happy as…well…as happy as I would be if somebody was to renegotiate a pay raise for me.   Hopefully a happy player is a productive player because when he is at his best Camilo is a nightmare for opposing defenders to shut down with his mazy runs.  His favourite songs are rumoured to be Eminem’s “My Name Is” and Blink 182’s “What’s My Name Again”.     
Twitter Account: @camilosanvezzo
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #whatsmynameagain, #callmecamilo, #callmesanvezzo, #justcallme


Name: Davide Chiumiento
Position: Midfield/Forward
Birthplace: Heiden, Switzerland
Bio: The Caps have him listed as a midfielder and a striker, which is fair because his game seems to be somewhere between the two.  He is probably best suited to a withdrawn striker role behind the target man, but may be used in central mid or on the wings.  It really depends on what formation Rennie settles on in any given game and which combination of players tend to work well together.  Davide “Chewy” Chiumiento has slimmed down since last year and has come to camp hungry for a starting 11 spot.  Don’t worry, the "ironing" of a player being “hungry” while losing weight since last season is not lost on me.  At his best, Chewy makes everyone around him better by retaining the ball and carving open opposing defenses with his passes.  Unfortunately, Bad Chewy has been known to come out, showing frustration towards teammates and lacking commitment on the field.  He has been Good Chewy this preseason so far, which does not bode well for opposing defenders around the league.    
Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #chewy


Name: Long Tan
Position: Forward
Birthplace: Dalian, China
Bio: Well, trying to get some background on Long Tan the footballer really helps you learn about a lot of cool things.  Turns out "Long Tan" is a Vietnamese village made famous as the site for a battle between the Australian army and Viet Cong forces, known of course as "The Battle of Long Tan".  There is also a movie based on the battle called "Long Tan" and a Longtan Dam in China.  As fascinating as this all was, the Whitecaps striker is still my favourite Long Tan of all, although certainly not the most famous (yet).  This may not be the only way that he gets the "short" end of the stick, as he may get pushed down the depth chart despite a very strong preseason.  Drawing three penalties and earning rave reviews in the Mickey Mouse Cup in Orlando, he still will have a hard time being the first sub off the bench, let alone in the starting 11 on a regular basis.  Nevertheless, I still think he is fantantastic!
Twitter Account: @longtan23
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #fantantastic, #notshortoneffort, #longoddstostart, #otherbadpunswithlong


Name: Sebastian Le Toux
Position: Midfield/Forward
Birthplace: Mont-Saint-Aignan, France
Bio: The hardest working man in the business, as the story goes on Le Toux.  After a bizarre and ugly divorce from the Philadeplhia Union, Vancouver swooped in and picked up the potent striker, augmenting  an already deep forward group.  This was an opportunity the 'Caps could not pass up, as "The Toux" has netted 25 goals over the last two years.  With all of the expectations on Camilo to continue to grow as a player, and Hassli to build on his form from the first half of the season now that he has a sense of the grind of the MLS calendar, The Toux may wind up surpassing them all in goals scored.  Combining a nose for goal of an experienced vet with the work ethic of a rookie, The Toux should become a quick fan favourite. Watch out King Eric! 
Twitter Account: @SebastienLeToux
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #thetoux


Name: Darren Mattocks
Position: Forward
Birthplace: Portmore, Jamaica
Bio: Selected 2nd overall by the 'Caps in this year's Superdraft after being passed over by the Impact, Mattocks adds to the ever increasing stable of goal scorers on the Whitecaps' roster.  Barring an amazing run of form Mattocks will be a bench player this year; however, he has the tools to make quite an impact when called upon.  What sets him apart from the other strikers on the squad is the lightning speed his legs can move at.  With the ability to push defenders back and stretch the field out for his teammates, as well as get in behind the back line himself, Mattocks may be the perfect ace up Rennie's sleeve to bring on fresh when the opposing defenders are wearing down.  Twitter Account: N/A
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #usainboltsgotnothingonme, #ifonlymattockssoundedasfastasbolt


Name: Eric Hassli
Position: Forward
Birthplace: Sarreguimines, France
Bio: The man who needs no introduction…but will get one anyways.  Tall, strong, and technically gifted, Hassli was in a different class last year: our first ever Designated Player, scorer of our first ever MLS goal, ESPY award nominee for his wonderstrike against the Sounders, and all-round fan favourite for his skill, passion, and flair for the dramatic.  Hassli was a marketing dream for the 'Caps management team as he fully embraced all things Vancouver and Canada.  If his stories of love-at-first-sight upon arriving in Vancouver were not convincing enough, his Maple Leaf and "O Canada" tattoos should seal the deal.  When on his game, he is one of the most devastatingly effective strikers in all of MLS.  One of the first names on the team sheet, big things are expected from the French giant.  Keep your eye King Eric, because if last year is any indication, he will be doing the zany (getting sent off for wearing two jerseys and taking one off) and jaw-dropping (wondergoal!) things all year long that you will not want to miss.   Twitter Account: @liam2929
Recommended 2012 Hashtags: #withglowinghearts, #kingeric,

 


About Rajan Dhariwal

Rajan has played, coached, and followed soccer on the West Coast his entire life. Blessed with the luxury of two historically dominant soccer playing nations in his background, he has been lucky enough to witness the dizzying heights of both the Canadian and Indian national teams. Needless to say, he gets his fix for winning teams through his support of Arsenal and the Whitecaps. Follow @pacificblvd

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