Going into season two of the MLS era for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the question seemed to be, “Where are all these forwards going to play?”
Five games in, the question is now, “Where are the goals going to come from?”
It’s a change in focus not many anticipated. But after this past Saturday’s 3-1 loss to San Jose Earthquakes, Whitecaps FC are latching onto the positives – namely the team’s first goal (and a first shot on net) in three matches.
“We played better than I think all the games we played away [so far],” goalscorer Sébastien Le Toux told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “We found ourselves in a pretty good situation [going up 1-0], so I think things are getting better and better.
“We’re working on it in practice and I think we showed [Saturday] what we can do, but we need to finish more chances.”
Indeed, Vancouver looked in control with a strong first hour before the wheels came off during a 10-minute spell in which Chris Wondolowski bagged a brace and substitute Alan Gordon scored a well-taken grazing header en route to the Earthquakes’ come-from-behind victory.
“Second half, we obviously started the half very well, and got a good goal,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters after the game. “From nowhere in a short space of time, we switched off and we’ve lost three goals and lost the game. In many ways, the difference was Wondolowski scored two goals out of nothing, and that changed the game, in my opinion.”
While that brief period left many on the team mystified, the ‘Caps are trying to view the overall picture – focusing on the positive first hour rather than dwelling on the meltdown, which led to the team’s collapse.
“I think tonight we played our best stuff,” captain Jay DeMerit said on Saturday. “We created the most chances and got forward the best we have all season. If we could combine the past few games we played defensively, and then combined with how we did offensively tonight, those are things we can take forward into [our next game].”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.