VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Welcome to the Carl Robinson era.
It's difficult to imagine a better first career game as a head coach than the one the Welshman experienced Saturday, as his Vancouver Whitecaps steamrolled the New York Red Bulls 4-1 at BC Place in front of a sold out crowd of 41,000.
Designated player Kenny Miller bagged a brace, and two of Robinson's offseason signings, Sebastian Fernandez and Pedro Morales, rounded out the scoring.
It wasn't simply the four-goal haul that thrilled, however – the passing, the movement, and even the missed opportunities were a delight to watch.
“I think they got what they deserved,” Robinson said of his players immediately after the match. “I really do. From the first minute of the first half they played on the front foot. They showed a desire, a determination to do well for themselves and as a team. If you work like that, nine times out of 10 you'll get your rewards, and the reward is the win for them.”
Despite playing just the final 25 minutes, coming on with his team leading 2-0, in some ways newly-signed designated player Morales stole the show, demonstrating vision and a range of passing which looked a cut above, despite just arriving from Spain on Wednesday.
It didn't just look nice, however, as the Chilean set Miller up for his second with a wonderfully weighted ball over the back of the New York defense in the 77th minute, before bagging his own in the 89th minute after Nigel Reo-Coker teed him up in the area.
When asked how Robinson could justify keeping him on the bench to start next weekend's match against Chivas USA on the road, all the coach could do was smile.
“Well, he won't be [left out],” Robinson said. “He'll be in the starting XI. You see the quality he's got. He come on, he assists, he scores a fantastic finish, he shows the quality he's got with his passing range, but also his awareness of other players around him when the ball's coming to him.
“He's got pictures in his mind. He's a top player, and that's why I brought him to the club.”
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