July 23, 2012
Rennie: 'I think he can be a star here'
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie thinks that newly acquired Dane Richards can be a star on the club. He points out what the Jamaican speedster accomplished for the team in its 2-1 Major League Soccer win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.
|Vancouver coach Martin Rennie on Dane Richards: "I like how fast he is and his ability to score and create goals. He puts teams on their back foot."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Richards scored his first goal for the Whitecaps since he joined the team from the New York Red Bulls for forward Sebastien Le Toux.
"I like how fast he is and his ability to score and create goals," Rennie said. "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 him until now.
"I think he can be a star here. He gets the crowd on their feet when he gets the ball in the wide area. I think we can build his confidence more."
Richards was named man of the match.
"The movement that he scored the goal from is something we’ve worked with him this week," Rennie said. "He was worthy of the man of the match award and I hope he’ll get many more for us. Any time you have that kind of pace on a team, it adds another dimension."
Richards scored Vancouver's first goal in the 20th minute as the hosts ended a four-game winless streak as they moved up to third place in the Western Conference. The Whitecaps (34 points) improved to 9-6-7 while the Earthquakes (43), who lead the conference, fell to 13-5-4.
Young-Pyo Lee’s through ball to Richards allowed the Jamaican internatonal to break in off the right flank and beat goalkeeper Jon Busch from a tight angle for a 1-0 advantage. It was his second goal of the season.
“Most defenders try to cover my pace and on that play I made eye contact with Lee and he made a perfect pass and I had a good first touch and put in far post,” Richards said.
After Alan Gordon lifted the Quakes into a 1-1 tie off a cross by Honduran Marvin Chavez, Barry Robson converted a penalty kick in the 63rd minute to give the hosts the lead for good.
Even though fellow Jamaican Darren Mattocks did not score, Richards felt the players are getting on the same page.
“Definitely, when I speed up down the line it’s nice to have someone up there with me," he said. "Usually when I speed up I’m all alone so it was really good. All my teammates have been really good so I’ m feeling confident out there.”