Whitecaps FC keeper Jay Nolly (Bob Frid)
Bob Frid

Vancouver seek elusive shutout against Chivas

Through five games, Vancouver Whitecaps FC lead Major League Soccer in goals scored. However, they also lead the league in goals against. On Saturday against Chivas USA (4 p.m. PT, TV: Rogers Sportsnet, ONLINE: MLS MatchDay Live, MOBILE: Bell, RADIO: TEAM 1410), the ‘Caps will look to post their first-ever shutout in MLS.

Although stats may point otherwise, Vancouver head coach Teitur Thordarson preaches defensive organization. That mentality was a hallmark for the club during the preseason, including a match against the Goats in Casa Grande, Arizona.

“They’ve got a really dangerous midfield,” said Wes Knight of Saturday’s opponents. “They outplayed us a little bit in Arizona. I’m really interested to see how they’re going to react in our stadium with the type of pressure that we bring, but all in all, they’re a good team.”

So far this season, Whitecaps FC haven’t quite been able to develop the defensive cohesion that Thordarson desires. That’s been due largely to outside factors rather than the team’s overall play.

“As a team, we need to defend very well and we have been constantly working on that,” said Thordarson. “But we’ve had to change the team constantly and that is a very important factor in not letting in goals.”

The ‘Caps came very close to keeping a clean sheet against New England Revolution in their last match at Empire Field – despite finishing with only nine men – but an equalizer in stoppage time prevented them from achieving the shutout win.

While they’ll no doubt look to shut down Chivas USA for the full 90 minutes, Thordarson does not plan to change his tactics.

“My general take is that when you’re at home, this is your home ground and you have to go for a win,” the coach said.

One man who could play a key role in helping Vancouver walk away with three points is rookie Jeb Brovsky. The University of Notre Dame product made his debut last weekend, earning Man of the Match honours, and could see some more minutes against Chivas USA.

“Individually, he’s a very skilled, technical player – strong,” Thordarson said of Brovsky. “I was more worried tactically in his first game, but he did that well, also. All in all, I was very happy. And if he plays tomorrow, we’ll see if he can follow up.”