Darren Mattocks was one of the surprise starters for Vancouver Whitecaps in their match against New York Red Bulls last weekend.
Vancouver were expected to struggle in the encounter due to the presence of Mattocks, who has scored only three goals in 20 appearances in the previous season. He was the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
However, Mattocks and his team surprised by managing a 4-1 win over the title challengers. A lot of praise has gone to coach Carl Robinson for his tactics, while Mattocks has also praised the manager. The Whitecaps were not expected to win their match (see a detailed review of bookmaker offers here) but overcame the odds to trounce the hevaily-fancied New York side.
He says that a lot has changed at the start of the season now that he is feeling more confident. He feels that he has adjusted to the style of play at the club pretty well. This should bode well for more first-team opportunities in the near future. Mattocks may not have scored in the win, but he did create one goal for his teammates.
One of the major differences in his style of play was his effort to bring his teammates into the game by holding the ball up in excellent fashion. Mattocks says that this aspect of the game has been overlooked too often, but the 23-year-old is working hard to excel in this regard.
“It was always there, even last season. But I think this season, the different style – I’ve adjusted to it really well. At the end of the day, I’m just going to try and put my best foot forward each and every time. As a center forward, it’s really important to get my teammates involved in the game. Holding up the ball to get my teammates to join in, that’s really huge,” said the striker. “If he’s going to play in that role, it’s important that he does hold the ball up,” said coach Robinson.