Confidence is key
Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made five changes to last week's starting line-up for Saturday’s match against LA Galaxy, but he got the same result – yet another loss.
The 2-0 defeat at The Home Depot Center marks Vancouver’s fourth league loss in a row, as in came Brad Knighton in goal, Martin Bonjour and Jordan Harvey in defence, and Matt Watson and Russell Teibert in midfield.
Lacking fluency in attack, the ‘Caps only attempted two shots all match.
“Right now, there may be a bit of a lack of ,” Watson told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “It’s something we’re working on and trying to stay positive, but you take a couple of losses and in the back of your head, you’re thinking, ‘what happens if we lose today, what happens if we lose today?’
WATCH: Whitecaps FC look at goal
“That’s something we need to get rid of so we can play with some freedom. I think when you play with freedom, you play the best, you know? I think we came out a little bit tame tonight. Maybe offensively, we didn’t get forward enough and create enough chances.”
Still, despite getting outplayed by the defending MLS Cup champions, it wasn’t a defensive breakdown that led to the goals, but rather two fine individual strikes.
First, Juninho broke the deadlock with a long-range wonder goal on 41 minutes, before David Beckham gave The Home Depot Center crowd a performance from his greatest hits album by curling a free kick into the top left corner of Knighton’s goal.
“Any time you give someone of that quality a spot that he likes to bend over the wall, he’s going to make those nine out of 10 times,” Knighton said of Beckham’s goal. “Unfortunately, it was a tough foul for us to give there, and he did what he does best.”
The loss means for the first time in Rennie’s tenure the ‘Caps are under .500, as they drop to a record of 10W-11L-7D.
“We’ve got good players,” Rennie said. “They’ve not become bad players overnight. We’ve got a good spirit within our group and there’s a lot of positives we can take from it, despite the loss. I’m confident we’ll get it turned around. It’s always difficult when you lose a few games – to lose four games [in a row] is something I’ve never been involved in before.
“It’s a good challenge, it’s a good test. It’s a good test of character, a good test of how you bounce back.”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.