“That’s my goal”: Recent Vancouver Whitecaps signing Marcus Godinho intent on proving his new club that he’s worth keeping around long-term

After arriving to the Vancouver Whitecaps late this summer on a free transfer, Marcus Godinho has adjusted to his new club quite nicely, racking up the appearances for the ‘Caps as of late. We had the chance to speak with him a few weeks ago about how this move has gone for him – here is some of what he had to say. 

One of the forgotten signings of the summer, he’s quietly burst onto the scene as of late. 

He might have only made 4 appearances in a Vancouver Whitecaps shirt so far, but Marcus Godinho has looked to have adjusted to life in MLS quite nicely to date, faring quite well in his first few games for his new club this season.

Having only joined on August 20th, he hasn’t had much time to get used to life on the west coast, but he’s certainly enjoyed his short time in Vancouver so far, as he continues his integration into the ‘Caps fold. 

After a 5 year European adventure that saw him go through a few clubs in Scotland and Germany, he’s happy to be back in his home country, allowing him to get back to playing in front of friends and family. 

A free agent after his latest season with FSV Zwickau in the 3rd tier of German football ended back in May, when Vancouver came calling this summer, he couldn’t help but answer, and from there, everything fell into place by the end of August, when he officially put pen to paper on a deal with the Whitecaps. 

 “Yeah, it was a move that I was really excited for, to come to MLS,” Godinho admitted in an exclusive interview with BTSVancity 2 weeks ago. “It’s a very exciting time to be back in Canada, and it’s amazing to be close to my family.”

“Obviously it was tough, I think I was out of season for maybe 4 or 5 months, so I came in and obviously needed to get fully back into shape, get used to training and everything, so I feel really fit now, I feel really good, things are progressing well and now hopefully I can get an opportunity to take my chance. “

But while the move certainly came about pretty quickly from an outside perspective, as only a few minutes passed between when the first reports of his signing emerged and everything was actually made official, the talks to bring Godinho to Vancouver actually began much earlier than that. 

In fact, they began all the way back in March, when Godinho suited up for Canda Soccer’s Men’s National U23 team at the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament down in Mexico, where he played a big role in Canada’s attempt to return to the Olympics for the first time since 1984. 

They fell short in that quest, as Canada narrowly lost to Mexico 2-0 in the semi-finals of that tournament (the 2 finalists went to Tokyo), but Godinho certainly impressed despite that, putting up some big performances for his country at left back, which for someone who is nominally deployed as a right back, was quite nice to see. 

From there, he caught the eye of the Whitecaps, who were tracking 5 of their own players during that tournament, which then led to conversations started between both parties, who both expressed interest in fashioning a deal. 

Things didn’t progress too fast at that point, but then things heated back up in the summer when Godinho officially became a free agent, and from there, things were made official not long after. 

Needing to shore up their full back depth after suffering several injuries during the summer, the ‘Caps were more than happy to do so by bringing in Godinho, who as a Canadian, doesn’t fill an international spot, something that Vancouver has been short on for much of the season. 

Having committed to that, it then took a bit of wheeling-and-dealing to make things official, as the ‘Caps had to acquire Godinho’s discovery rights from CF Montreal for $50 000 GAM, but once all of that was done, the two parties put pen to paper on a 4-month deal, one that also comes with club options for the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.

“I think I heard from them straight after Olympic qualifiers, I think the week after,” Godinho explained. “I think there was a bit of contact there, but things didn’t happen at that point.”

“Then, I was out of contract in June, and from that point on, we were in contact here and there a little bit, and there were a few complications along the way, I think of Montreal at the end, they had me on their discovery list, and then it finally got over the line thankfully.”

Once the deal was signed, though, the hurdles unfortunately continued for Godinho, who then had to work back up full fitness after not playing since May. 

Joining a team that was just starting to hit their stride, he had to basically work his way up from scratch, with no preseason, which is no easy task for any player to endure. 

So other than a 5-minute cameo against Real Salt Lake on August 30th that he admits he was ‘running on adrenaline’ in, that meant that he’d be left to wait all the way until October 10th for his next appearance, when he came off the bench against Seattle.

“At that point, I was still really fresh,” Godinho admits of his RSL appearance. “I think I’d only trained for maybe 10 days, 2 weeks if that, in the last 5 months, but I feel that since then, these last few weeks I’ve really taken it up a notch in training, I’m feeling fitter and sharper, and now when the opportunity comes, I think I’ll be ready to play.” 

But since then, he’s played in 3 straight games, including his first start in MLS (and first competitive start since April), which came this week against the Portland Timbers, where he went 61 minutes, showing pretty well for himself in that cameo. 

Thanks to that, it’s truly helped him get back to close to 100% fitness, which he admitted he was getting close to a few weeks ago, and seeing how he’s handled himself in his recent cameos, he certainly isn’t far off reaching. 

He might not have arrived here in his peak shape, but he’s feeling pretty good about himself right now, and that’s allowed him to make an impact for his new club here.

“It’s going up and down,” Godinho said of his fitness. “To be honest I had a couple of niggles here and there that we had to manage, but I think for now, not 100%, but quite close.”

And that’s been huge for this Whitecaps side, who has been one of the hottest teams in MLS as of late, having won 8 of their last 12 games in league play. 

After having fired manager Marc Dos Santos following a tough elimination from the Canadian Championship at the hands of Canadian Premier League side, Pacific FC, new head coach Vanni Sartini has employed an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality, one where everyone who is fit has been called upon to contribute. 

That’s allowed Godinho to get this run of minutes as of late, as he’s fit seamlessly in Sartini’s back 5, slotting in nicely at right wing back. 

A skilled attacking player, he’s had the freedom to roam forward and make things happen offensively, but he’s also been responsible enough to track back when needed to, for the most part, allowing him to have a decent two-way impact when he’s been on the field. 

So as the ‘Caps continue their push to the playoffs, sitting just above the line as of writing, they now know that they’ve got another name to rely on in Godinho, and he’s more than happy to be a part of this run.  

“I think that from the first day I arrived, to now, the mentality is that everybody’s bought in,” Godinho said. “I think everybody believes that we’re working to make the playoffs, I think there’s no question about it, you can see the performance last week that everyone’s buzzing about, San Jose (Earthquakes) came here and they didn’t really have a chance against us, 3-0 loss.”

“I think we just have to keep working, I think that the style of play that Vanni (Sartini) has implemented really works for us, and I think the guys bought into that as well, so because of that, I think we can make the playoffs.”

But while Godinho’s focus remains firmly planted on helping his team get to the playoffs, and going from there, has he thought about what lies ahead for him at the end of the season, where he’ll be a free agent again unless the ‘Caps pick up his options? 

And when asked that, he had no hesitation in giving an answer, as he is more than happy to stay in Vancouver, which is his main goal right now. 

“If the opportunity comes for me to stay here, that’s my goal, to stay in Vancouver next season,” Godinho promised.

It’s too early to say if that will happen or not, but based on what he’s shown so far, he seems like a good fit for this team, and based on that mentality, you can’t help but like what he has to say. 

A young Canadian International with 5 caps who has come cheap, making just $84 375 for this year, the cards are stacking up for a potential return as long as he keeps up what he’s shown so far, and based on his comments, he’s more than committed to doing that. 

So because of that, keep a close eye on him now, as he looks to repay the ‘Cps faith in signing him with a strong end to the season, allowing him to add more chapters to his so far short Vancouver story. 

He might not have come here too much fanfare, but he’s certainly starting to turn heads now, and will look to continue to do so over the coming months here, hopefully leading to a long-term deal.

Cover Photo via: Beau Chevalier (IG: shotby.beau Twitter: beauchevalier_)

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