Major League Soccer

Brian White opens up on his improvement for Vancouver Whitecaps

Chris Smith
White scored his first-ever MLS hat-trick to fire the Whitecaps to a 3-0 win over San Jose
White scored his first-ever MLS hat-trick to fire the Whitecaps to a 3-0 win over San Jose / Kevin Light/Getty Images

The remarkable turnaround of Brian White continued on Saturday with his first-ever MLS hat-trick, firing Vancouver Whitecaps to a 3-0 win over San Jose Earthquakes.

In three years and 51 apearances at senior level, White managed just 16 goals across all competitions for the New York Red Bulls prior to his Canadian switch in June.

And after an initially tough start that saw White notch just one goal and one assist in 11 appearances with the Whitecaps, the striker has burst into life. His trio of goals against the Quakes on Saturday not only delivered three vital points for his side, but also extended his scoring run to eight in his last nine MLS games.

Speaking to reporters after Saturday's game (via the Toronto Star), White highlighted being 'valued' by the Whitecaps as a defining factor to his impressive run of form.

“Coming into a team where I felt valued, it meant a lot to me," he said. "And being able to slot in and really just get a lot of games in right away, it just meant a lot to me to have so much trust with the club, with the players.

“Being able to grow in that role was very important for me personally. And I’m just glad that I can help contribute to the team and help get three points.”

Born in Flemington, New Jersey, just outside New York City, this is White's first big move away from home. The 25-year-old admitted it's been a big upheaval for him, but that he's been able to push any distractions to the back of his mind.

“It’s been a lot of change in a short amount of time but for me, it’s been all about just trying to put that outside of my mind when I get on the field and just make the most of every opportunity I get to play,” he added.

Aside from his team-high nine goals, White has also been a willing worker for Vancouver. The American ranks sixth at the club for pressures (279) and first for pressures in the attacking third (136), while only Lucas Cavallini (50) has won more aerial duels than his 36.

“He’s a very selfless player and being selfless, it helps you to be even the protagonist sometimes,” Whitecaps interim head coach Vanni Sartini said of White. “Because that’s the key for us to win more games, thinking as a ‘we’ and not as a group of ‘Is'.”

White's form has inspired the 'Caps to a run of just one defeat in 15 matches and although they sit one place below the playoff line, they only trail Minnesota United by a single point.

Up next for Vancouver is a testing trip to Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders on Saturday.