Vancouver Whitecaps draw 0-0 with L.A. Legends - The Province


BY MARC WEBER

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Alan Koch had little patience on Friday.

He made his first substitution just 30 minutes in and used all six on the afternoon.

No one from the starting XI or off the bench, however, could provide a spark as the Caps drew 0-0 with the L.A. Legends at Swangard Stadium.

It was a tie that felt far more like a loss. Vancouver is now 0-0-4 to start the season and it's only a 12-game season. And only two Western Conference teams make the playoffs — three if a Western Conference team posts the best overall league record like Pali Blues of California did last season.

"Incredibly frustrating today," said Koch. "Our intensity was nowhere near good enough and it was incredibly disappointing to see that.

"We did create ample opportunities to score, we just didn't put the ball in the back of the net. We certainly weren't composed anywhere on the pitch today. Give L.A. credit, they did what they had to do."

The Whitecaps did have their chances against the Legends (0-2-2), who returned only one player from 2008 when they were 1-9-2. Amy Vermeulen's header opportunity in the 69th was probably the best on the day, but she missed a sitter on a great ball in from Katie Thorlakson.

The tone was set early, though. Rachel Pelat could have got on the end of a Chelsea Stewart cross in the fourth minute and was subbed off shortly after rushing a golden chance in the 28th. She had all day after taking a pass from Jodi-Ann Robinson, who put in one of the few positive performances.

Only a handful of players seemed in the right head space, which left Koch wondering if his squad took L.A. too lightly after a strong performance against Pali last week.

"I think our players came into today with definitely not the right approach," he said. "Their mentality showed in the first 45 minutes. We had to give them a kick the butt at halftime."

It wasn't enough.

Vancouver, in fact, was in some ways lucky to escape with a point, despite outshooting L.A. 16-9.

Thorlakson — with her shoulder — cleared Erin Brunelle's goal-bound header in the 56th and Jamie Bell should have chipped Caps keeper Sian Bagshawe after a brutal turnover one minute later.

"It's extremely frustrating," said Thorlakson, who said she didn't feel the energy was good right from the warmup. "Our finish definitely wasn't there today."

The Whitecaps hit the road for three games, starting with a rematch against the Legends on June 18. Games follow against Ventura Country and Pali.

mweber@theprovince.com

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