Carl's Keys to the Game vs. Chivas
USA Today Sports Images

Carl's Keys to the Game vs. Chivas USA

Highlights: Whitecaps FC 0-1 LA Galaxy

Killer touch

When you look at our recent defeats against Los Angeles, Colorado, and Philadelphia, they all have one thing in common: good performances spoiled by lack of finish in front of the goal.

It was encouraging to see the level of performance and the quality of chances we created in all of these matches. As we find ourselves back at BC Place, you know those chances are going to be there for us again. When they are, we have to take advantage.  

We can find lots of positives in how well we have played and the number of opportunities we are creating for ourselves, but we really need to start converting these chances into goals starting this Sunday against Chivas USA.

Torres scores the winner against New York

Kennedy and Torres

Speaking of converting our chances, that’s not going to be easy against Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who leads the league with 88 saves.

The fact that Kennedy is the MLS save-leader means that Chivas is giving up a lot of shots on target, and that’s encouraging for our ‘Caps. On the other hand, they will have to come up with something special to beat him.

Not only is Kennedy keeping his team in games, he’s also the captain and leader of the squad. If we can put pressure on him, get bodies on him when crosses come in and try to get him a little bit unsettled, it gives us a better chance to succeed in front of the net.

At the other end of the pitch, 20-year-old striker Erick Torres, who is on loan from Guadalajara, is on a tear with four goals in six appearances – two of those goals coming in a 3-2 win against New York Red Bulls in their last outing. The Goats have come away with points in four of their last five matches and Torres has played a big part in that. He’s someone the ‘Caps will have to watch closely.

June 19, 2013: Whitecaps FC 3-1 Chivas USA

Force turnovers

The Goats are still a young side trying to find their way under a new coach and they’re prone to making mistakes. With that in mind, we need to get after them early and often and look to force turnovers in their defensive third.

We have forwards that are quick and willing to work hard defensively and we have to utilize that. When we played in Portland, we came out and pressured them right from the opening whistle and that caused them all sorts of problems. When we do that, it really helps our possession game as we retain the ball in their end and don’t have to work the ball from the back all the time.

If we’re able to get on the Goats early, it will energize the crowd and go a long way in getting our ‘Caps back into the win column and back into the Western Conference playoff picture.