VANCOUVER, BC – Currently sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference, and with games in hand on all those above them, Vancouver Whitecaps FC looked to be in a strong position as Major League Soccer entered the World Cup break.
But as seen in recent years, how you finish the season is often more crucial than getting off to a good start. And that’s not lost on veteran defender Andy O’Brien, who saw Whitecaps FC fall out of a playoff position in the summer months of the 2013 season.
This year, however, O’Brien feels the ‘Caps are a much different beast.
“I think it's a different mindset,” O’Brien told MLSsoccer.com. “The mix of the young players we've got, the spirit and the sort of comedy factor that the South American boys bring, the enthusiasm, and all the boys that are maybe a bit more stuck in their ways. It's a good combination and I think we're reaping the rewards of that at this moment in time.”
That reward for Whitecaps FC has come in the way of a 5W-2L-6D record and 21 points from their 13 games played.
With exciting games, plenty of goals and an attacking attitude whether at home or away, it’s been a promising start for Vancouver, but O’Brien knows that there’s still a lot of work to do, with no time to rest on their laurels.
“I think it's gone well,” O’Brien said of Vancouver’s start to the season. “We've got games in hand but I'm a firm believer that I'd prefer to have the points. We're in a decent position, having both.
“I think if we win those games in hand we can go up to 27 points, which would be second, but there's a lot of work has to be done in order to get to that position. Not only when those games in hand have leveled themselves out but there's a lot of games still left in the season.
“All in all, I think we're pleased with where we are. You hope, come the end of the season, that you've done enough to certainly make it into the playoffs and then the next chapter begins.”
Although the break came at a good time to rest body and mind, the ‘Caps were just hitting their stride and on a seven-match unbeaten run in MLS. With a team in such good form, there is always a danger that a break puts the brakes on that form.
While O’Brien acknowledged as much, he also said the team isn’t worried that the break is going to kill any momentum.
“When things are going well, you want the games to come thick and fast,” he said. “And they're certainly going to do that now.”
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($220), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.