VANCOUVER, BC – In the build-up to Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Portland Timbers, David Ousted stressed that Vancouver Whitecaps FC couldn’t approach the Cascadia derby as a make-or-break match.
It was an important game, a game they desperately wanted to win, but there are still nine games to go. That’s what Ousted said last week and it’s a point he and the ‘Caps reiterated on Tuesday as they returned to training after a disappointing defeat.
“It’s a little down, as it should be,” Ousted said of the mood at training. “But it’s not a time to give up or feel sorry for ourselves. We’re still in a good position and we still have the chance to make a push to the playoffs.”
As it stands, Whitecaps FC trail fifth-place Portland by one point for the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference. Vancouver also have a game in hand over their Pacific Northwest rivals, meaning they control their own destiny heading into the final two months of the season.
If the ‘Caps are going to qualify for the post-season, however, they know that they can’t put in a performance like they did on Saturday again.
“We’re still a young group but it’s also putting your heart into it, putting that jersey over your head and really going and fighting for it,” Ousted said. “If you lose to a better team, that happens sometimes. But I don’t think we should get out-fought and out-played like we did at home.”
Ousted and head coach Carl Robinson both agreed that the Blue and White looked a little tense and timid in the first half against Portland. Part of getting back on track, Robinson said, will involve playing with more of a freedom like they did earlier in the season. It could also involve a tactical adjustment with the goal of getting more bodies in the box and creating more chances.
“I could stand here and make excuses … I’m not making excuses,” Robinson said. “We need to be better as a group and the individuals need to be better.”
“I’ve got to find a solution,” he continued. “I will find a solution. With the personnel we’ve got, we have to mix and match sometimes. If someone’s not doing their job correctly, then there will be changes.”
LISTEN: Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson speaks to media after training
News and notes:
- Centre back Johnny Leveron, who missed Saturday’s match due to caution accumulation, has joined the Honduran national team for the upcoming 2014 Copa Centroamericana in the United States. As a result, Leveron will miss Vancouver’s next three matches.
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