Dane Richards looks to Whitecaps experience
Four weeks after signing on to Vancouver Whitecaps from New York Red Bulls, winger Dane Richards is fitting into his new US Major League Soccer team.
The 28-year-old Jamaican, who also came with allocation money, has played four matches and scored one goal for the Whitecaps who are seeking to book a place in the MLS Cup play-offs in November.
Richards brings not only width but speed to the Canadian team which has depended on the pace of another Jamaican and rookie Darren Mattocks to consistently breach opponents' defences.
When Richards scored his first goal for the Whitecaps against San Jose Earthquakes on July 22 at the BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, coach Martin Rennie gave this assessment.
"I like how fast he is and his ability to score and create goals. He puts teams on their back foot. He's the profile of the Whitecaps player we've been looking for but haven't been able to get until now."
Richards has been tame for the Bulls this season, with one goal and two assists from 17 matches.
Whitecaps assistant coach Carl Robinson, who played two years with the Red Bulls before taking up his post at Vancouver, influenced Rennie in taking on Richards.
"He's a great guy in the locker room. He has electric pace and is eager to learn. He's a huge threat in the attacking game," he told Canadian newspapers.
Richards, who spent six seasons with the Red Bulls, was surprised at the trade according to Sportsnet.
"I was surprised. I got home from practice, was getting ready for dinner when I got the call. Lost my appetite for a while but then I know Robbo, great coach, great guy, so I'm just looking forward to a great start," he explained.
With Mattocks and Richards likely to be in the line-up, the Whitecaps are hoping to improve on their fourth-place in the Western Conference when they host Real Salt Lake this evening at 6:00.
Richards sees his speed as one of his strengths.
"I try to isolate one-on-one on the right side. Try to get behind the defence. Try to set up Mattocks because, with my pace and his, he's going to reach up there with me in the box, so hopefully I can supply good crosses for him to finish," Richards added.
Apart from Richards, the Whitecaps have added to their roster in the past four weeks Scottish international Kenny Miller, former Republic of Ireland international Andy O'Brien and Brazilian Tiago Ulisses.
Born in Montego Bay, Richards has 38 caps and eight goals for Jamaica.