New Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson faces tough challenge

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Vancouver, BC, Canada (4E Sports) – Left with several players to work with, new Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson faces a tough challenge as they prepare for next season.

Robinson is faced with a daunting task of finding replacements for key players, especially Camilo Sanvezzo, during the team’s six-week training camp at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium.

“It’s been a very interesting first couple of weeks and getting thrown in at the deep end,” Robinson said when asked about Camilo’s defection and the revelation that Whitecap draft pick Andre Lewis was already under contract with the lower-league New York Cosmos.

“Was I surprised? Yes, I was. Was I disappointed? Yes, I was. But that’s football and you move on. It’s not about what could have been. It’s about what I do from this point onwards. I’ve got 100 per cent faith in the players I have here,” he added.

Camilo, the 25-year-old Brazilian who led MLS with 22 goals, decided he could make a lot more money in Mexico, forcing the Whitecaps to sell his rights to Querétero FC for a hefty but undisclosed fee.

The team made some roster moves Monday, acquiring attacking fullback Steven Beitashour and journeyman midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy from the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 26-year-old Beitashour, an American-Iranian, should be a capable replacement for retired right back Y.P. Lee.

The 30-year-old Ballouchy, for his part, will provide experience and depth in the middle of the park.

With Camilo gone, the Whitecaps will rely on team effort rather than individual effort in terms of scoring.

“If we have three guys come in and score eight or nine goals each, then we end up with more goals than (Camilo scored) last year. I’m happy with the group I’ve got, but of course I want to bring one or two more players in,” Robinson said.

The Whitecaps, who move training camp to Arizona next week, open their MLS season March 8 against the New York Red Bulls at BC Place Stadium.

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