Marc Dos Santos has managed, coached or overseen 10 teams in 11 years, his latest stop coming as the head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Saturday will see his first game as a visitor in his last refuge, as an assistant with LAFC.For Marc Dos Santos, Saturday’s exhibition soccer game against LAFC at Banc of California Stadium is the definition of a friendly.It’s his first game against the Black and Gold since leaving the team after one year as an assistant coach under Bob Bradley.“It’s a place that is special to me, it’s a place has helped a lot, where I have a lot of friends who treated me very well,” the Whitecaps coach said this week.“I have not one bad thing to say about LAFC. So it’s exciting to go back and see all of those friends I have there.”For the players, it will be anything but friendly, as players from both sides will come out studs up, keen to earn their spots in their respective starting 11s. Saturday’s match — a 5:30 p.m. kickoff — will see Bradley field a squad that’s likely to be his Major League Soccer starting lineup on March 3 against Sporting Kansas City. The same for Dos Santos — minus one or two players.“That’s our last test,” he said. “That’s the game where a lot of players are going to stay longer on the field.”Today was the first time #VWFC had all their new players together with the team. Montero was fully involved in training, while Ardaiz spent most of the session working with the strength and conditioning staff. https://t.co/EQ0LzuwJN7— Farhan Devji (@farhandevji) February 22, 2019The Caps finally had their strikers join the team, with Fredy Montero flying into L.A. Thursday and Uruguayan prospect Joaquin Ardaiz arriving later that night after a few days in Vancouver getting his visa situation sorted. Both trained Friday, Montero with full participation and Ardiaz separate from the squad.Midfielder Inbeom Hwang is expected to see action, though centreback Jasser Khmiri and midfielder Russell Teibert are listed as day-to-day as they recover from surgery and injury, respectively.The Caps tied Liga MX Club Tijuana’s reserve side 1-1 earlier this week, and Dos Santos was pleased with the progression his team has shown.“You’re always learning with every game,” Dos Santos said after the game. “We’re still in the process and have work to do. We just get more and more answers.“If we had some doubts on some players, and some players we have to make decisions on … What we wanted (Wednesday) is to make sure everyone that travelled had an opportunity to showcase what they can do.”
Marc Dos Santos, then head coach of the USL’s Montreal Impact, yells instruction during the home opener in North American Soccer League against FC Tampa Bay in 2011.
Peter Mccabe /
It was a serendipitous choice of words, considering it was in L.A. where Dos Santos first began to impinge on the MLS consciousness as a legitimate head coaching candidate. He helped the team become just the fifth expansion side in league history to make the playoffs, their 57 points bettering the previous record of 56 set by the Chicago Fire in 1998 for most points in an inaugural season.The Portuguese-Canadian coach is fond of saying he wasn’t “microwaved” into a head coach after a short playing career. Rather his current standing is the result of a long and flavourful slow-cooked process.In 11 years, since his managerial career began with leading the CSL’s Trois-Rivieres Attak to a 2007 Open Canada Cup, “MDS” has spent time with 10 different clubs in three different countries.Over that time he’s won a USL and NASL title — twice being named the NASL manager of the year — and a Canadian Championship crown, all while never coaching a team to a losing record.The Montreal-born Dos Santos has set a massive task for himself in taking the reins of the Whitecaps, completely reshaping the team by adding 14 new players from 12 different countries.The time the former Montreal Impact coach spent working with youth sides in Brazil — splitting time between Primeira Camisa, SE Palmeiras and Desportivo Brasil — gives him some insight on how to handle the transition his players must face in moving to Vancouver.“(My time with the Impact) allowed me to say, ‘Ok, I’m able to be understood at home. I am able to get it done in a market that I know, and people know me, and it’s normal,” he told LAFC.com last April.“Now how can I be when people don’t understand my language, we don’t eat the same food, and we don’t deal with the same things? These to me are challenges that are incredibly motivating. When I go to a place, I don’t think about what am I going to eat, is my family going to adapt? No, we just went. And then we see what life is going to give us.”The Whitecaps play LAFC twice in the 2019 regular season, hosting them Wednesday, April 17, and travelling to L.A. on Saturday, July firstname.lastname@example.org/TheRealJJAdamsFirst GameSaturday, March 2Minnesota United at Vancouver Whitecaps3 p.m., B.C. Place Stadium, TSN 1, TSN 4, TSN 1040 AMCLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com