In bid to end skid, Rennie tinkering tactically

Mattocks to start

BURNABY, BC – In a bid to bump the slump, Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie has taken to tinkering.

In last weekend’s 1-0 loss to FC Dallas, he moved Alain Rochat into the defensive midfield slot normally occupied by Jun Marques Davidson, gave Brad Knighton a second consecutive start in goal ahead of Joe Cannon and changed the look of his midfield by deploying a diamond formation.

It didn’t achieve the desired result, but of the Vancouver’s five consecutive defeats, it was perhaps the best team performance, with only a 96th minute wonder goal from Julian de Guzman separating the sides.

READ: Rennie insists no extra pressure put on DPs Robson, Miller

Given that improvement, that look could stick for this Sunday’s match against the Colorado Rapids (7:30 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE).

WATCH: Mattocks previews Rapids matchup

“It was appropriate for that game against Dallas,” Rennie said after a training session at Swangard Stadium this week. “I think that tactically we did get it right. We had enough possession, enough territorial advantage and enough chances to win the game. So I think it worked well against them and it’s something we can adjust to.”

The switch seemed to suit John Thorrington, who played on the right side of the diamond.

“I think it’s nice that we do have that flexibility,” Thorrington said. “I think the good thing about a diamond is that it allows your fullbacks to get forward. We’ve got some very good fullbacks that are more than capable of doing that. I think it gets another striker up front, which hopefully will benefit us in terms of scoring goals.”

One change that’s almost a certainty is that Darren Mattocks -- who was named #1 in MLSsoccer.com's "24 Under 24" ranking on Friday -- looks set to start rather than come on as a substitute as he did in Dallas, with Rennie confirming to reporters that the Jamaican will be in the first XI on Sunday.

READ: Knighton to get his chance between pipes for Vancouver

The 22-year-old speedster is eager to take his starting chance, nonchalantly stating the goals are coming, despite the ‘Caps failing to find the back of the net in four of their past five matches.

“We’ve not been taking our chances,” Mattocks said. “But we’re back home now for four home games and I think the fans are expecting us to score a couple of goals, which we’re going to do.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.