After shoring up his defence with the addition of experienced Canadian internationals Marcel de Jong and David Edgar, Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson has turned his attention to bolstering his hit and miss attack, in what has proved to be a busy summer transfer window for the ‘Caps.
The signing of exciting homegrown forward Alphonso Davies was the first piece added last week. Joining the fresh-faced 15-year-old in a new look ‘Caps attack is a man at the opposite end of the experience spectrum and double his age, Argentine forward Fabian Espindola.
Espindola is a ten year MLS veteran, with 73 goals and 42 assists in his 252 appearances in all competitions, and Robinson is hoping he’ll add something different to his squad for the second half of the season. He brings with him a proven track record in MLS and is 7th on the list of active goalscorers in the league. His addition is an exciting proposition for a ‘Caps side that has been missing a proven goalscorer to bury the slew of chances they create. Espindola fits that bill and also brings with him a nasty streak that we naturally like here at AFTN!
“Just another piece of the puzzle that we have,” Robinson said of the Espindola signing at Whitecaps training on Thursday. “Each individual player in the squad has characteristics that different from each other. They bring a different dynamic to the group and Fabian will bring that.
“We’re always looking. When I say that to you, it’s not a line that I use if we’re not doing it. We are looking to add quality players and Fabian fits that role. We’re very happy to have him.”
Robinson’s admiration of South American talent is well documented, and Espindola has been a player on the ‘Caps coach’s radar for a while now. With the injury to Kekuta Manneh and the departure of Octavio Rivero, the timing couldn’t be better for Vancouver as they look to strengthen their playoff positioning, and you have to see the Argentine starting out his Whitecaps career out on the left wing in a Manneh-style role.
“He’s a good player,” Robinson added. “He’s been in the league a number of years. I’ve looked to try and bring him in once or twice over the last two years. Sometimes you have to be patient to get your man.”
Despite coming off Vancouver’s most successful MLS season to date, Robinson has given his squad something of an overhaul over the past seven months. Ten new players have come in, many of them bringing a wealth of experience, giving Vancouver perhaps the best group of players Robinson has had in his squad in his two and a half seasons at the helm.
“I would hope so, because as the years go by you try and get stronger and better,” Robinson said. “Does that necessarily mean that you’re going to win more? No, unfortunately it doesn’t. But man for man on paper, we’ve probably had as strong a group as we’ve had since I’ve been here, but it’s down to when they play games.”
Espindola could join up with the team in Houston ahead of this weekend’s game, but it’s thought that he’s unlikely to be involved as the ‘Caps are still waiting for his Canadian work permit and other paperwork to be finalised.
As Vancouver get set to hit the road for the next few weeks, the recent new additions will help strengthen the team at what is traditionally a tricky time for the ‘Caps, and Robinson hinted that he isn’t finished yet when it comes to strengthening his squad.
“I’m still looking at trying to bring one or two more in,” Robinson admitted. “If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be doing my job correctly. I’m trying to make us better in the short term, medium and long terms. We’ve brought in some good additions so we’re just trying to get guys up to speed. There’ll be more trialists coming in until I’m happy, and I’ll probably never be happy.”