Whitecaps defender hasn't scored in three years

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:41 PM ET

There are scoring slumps, and then there are Wes Knight scoring slumps.

To put into perspective the last time the Whitecaps defender/midfielder celebrated a goal of his own, George W. Bush was still the United States president, Justin Bieber had yet to put out a single, and no one knew what an iPad was.

You get the point.

Knight has not tallied since June 27, 2008, with Bradenton Academics of the USL’s Premier Development League, and has yet to score as a Whitecap. That’s 77 games and counting since joining the club in 2009.

That said, if the gritty Easley, South Carolina, native continues playing the way he did in Vancouver’s 0-0 draw with Chivas USA on Saturday, a goal can’t be too far off.

In just his third career MLS start, Knight was one of Vancouver’s more dangerous players. His best chances came in the ninth minute when he hit the outside of the post, and the 21st minute when his shot was stopped at the line by Chivas midfielder Simon Elliott.

“After going two years without scoring, you begin to get confidence when you start getting chances like that,” said Knight, who had four shots.

“Those are the first legitimate chances I’ve had since I’ve been here. It just gives me confidence that I’m getting in the right areas.”

While the goal numbers haven’t necessarily been kind to Knight (although his 11 assists are most on the franchise list amongst active Whitecaps players), the fan favourite takes pride in the basics: work hard and mastering his role on the team – something coach Teitur Thordarson commended after Saturday’s game.

The 5-foot-11, 175-lb American credits his roots for that work ethic, which teammate Eric Hassli calls “contagious.”

“I grew up in South Carolina where the development isn’t like what these guys have had. So I’ve always relied on my athletic ability, my speed and my work rate to carry me,” he said.

“That’s where I hang my hat. I’m going to do one job and do it well. As long as I can continue to be that kind of player, I think I’ll be valuable.”

It’s that attitude which will prove rewarding for the 24 year old moving forward.

“The thing about me is that I’m young and eager to learn, and I have a long way to grow,” he said.

“As long as I continue to have that fire, I think I’ll be OK.”


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