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End of stage 1

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a breather.

While few pro soccer players would admit to wanting an extended break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be relieved that last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Portland Timbers signalled the end of a grueling 28 days in which the team played nine matches.

Now, it’s time for a break to recharge the batteries – head coach Martin Rennie gave the majority of his players Monday to Wednesday to do just that by giving them time off – with the club not in action again until June 10 against Houston Dynamo at BC Place.

“This is huge because it gives us a chance to sit back and think,” captain Jay DeMerit said following Saturday’s match. “A lot has been said and a lot of games have been played in the past month. Overall, I think it has been a great start to the beginning of our season. It’s a great place to start and we all know there still is a lot of work to do.”


Salvaging a point against the Timbers through Darren Mattocks’ late equalizer on Saturday was important after last week’s Canadian Championship final loss to Toronto FC.

“We were able to move on quickly from the disappointment [against Toronto], and have a chance to put things back in order,” said midfielder John Thorrington following Saturday’s draw. “I thought we did that tonight. Now we have some time to reflect, and the last thing you want to do is go into the break on a low. With the type of play we had tonight, it will help us keep our heads up high.”

The busy period had its up and downs – the club is winless in its last five matches in all competitions – but there is a fight and determination among the group that its coach is enthusiastic about.

“End of stage 1,” Rennie said on Saturday. “We all need a break after the long beginning. We finished with a lot of positives and a lot to learn from. Playing the games we did on the West Coast and away from home in one full month really showed me, and hopefully, our fans, what these men are capable of.”

Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.