With a Saturday night rematch against LA Galaxy looming, Whitecaps FC have been doing the necessary preparations on the training pitch and the film room this week.
The two teams last faced each other on June 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium, with LA Galaxy picking up the three available points in a 2-1 victory.
“We’ve been in the video room preparing every detail for the LA Galaxy game,” said head coach Marc Dos Santos. “It was a very close game here where we lost in injury time and we hope we can reverse that [outcome] on Saturday.”
Dos Santos also touched on the challenges the opposing team will bring against the ‘Caps this weekend.
“They’re a team that I think has a lot of speed out wide. Both wingers are players that are vertical and are dangerous at attacking the space. They don’t press very high, it’s a midfield that has quality. Especially, when they find (Victor) Vazquez between lines, and then Vazquez looks for those players wide that are fast,” he said.
However, the coach is more than confident in his team’s ability to pull off a win this weekend.
“We also feel they have areas they keep struggling with during the season that we could exploit.”
In response to the challenges LA Galaxy will pose, the squad plans to make defensive adjustments to their play. While MDS has liked a good amount of the ‘Caps defensive efforts, he explained how stronger defence could be a difference maker in their upcoming matches.
“Even if I go to the game that we lost 4-0 against Salt Lake, there was good moments in the first half of the type of zones where I wanted the team to defend and defending further from our goal. We did it well in the first half against Seattle, we did it well in the first half against Dallas, now we have to find consistency and continuity in that, not only doing it for 45-50 minutes.”
During Wednesday’s media availability, Dos Santos also touched on the recent developments regarding two ‘Caps players – Derek Cornelius and Cristián Gutiérrez.
On Monday, the club announced Cornelius signed a contract extension and would be loaned to Panetolikos FC through 2022.
“(Derek) was fighting to get a spot in the team and there were two players that are more option one and two at the moment, but Derek was a player that wanted to be in the top two and wanted to play consistently,” said Dos Santos.
“He had very honest and direct conversations with me. He felt that with where he was in his career, he needed to play.”
Gutiérrez’s addition to Canada’s roster for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup was announced on Monday as well.
Dos Santos highlighted the club’s excitement for the 24-year-old left back.
“I always think that for any player to be with the national team and to represent the country and help the country achieve their goals is important,” he said. “We were always supportive of that and will continue being supportive of that.”
On whether Gutiérrez’s call-up would impact his availability for the match against LA, Dos Santos expressed he did not believe there would be any issue.
“Right now, he is here and there’s no indication, at least with me, that he’s not going to play or be an option to play on Saturday. So as long as he’s an option, he’s going to continue being one.”
Catch the ‘Caps facing off against LA Galaxy at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday, July 17 at 7 p.m. on TSN 1/4 and AM730. The pre-match shows start at 6:30 p.m. (TV) and 6 p.m. (radio). All times in PT.