VANCOUVER, BC – It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
Although Vancouver Whitecaps FC are 0W-2L-0D to start the season for the first time in Major League Soccer, they certainly aren’t reaching for the panic button.
After all, there are still 32 games to go.
Make no bones about it, their winless start has been disappointing – and even more so because they feel it’s been self-inflicted. The ‘Caps were the best defensive team in MLS last season. No team conceded fewer goals or had more clean sheets. They made teams work for their goals.
And that hasn’t necessarily happened so far in 2016.
“There were some fantastic goals in the first two games against us and you have to hold your hands up with that,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “But we know we can be better, collectively and individually, and that’s something we’ll try to work on.”
That’s the silver lining for Whitecaps FC.
To a certain extent, the ‘Caps feel they’ve gifted the opposition goals – well-taken ones, yes – due to uncharacteristic mistakes. And they feel those mistakes can be corrected.
“You look back and there are obvious things we can change that have been very impactful on the game,” said Whitecaps FC left back Jordan Harvey. “That’s the non-frustrating part … we fix those, and I think we can get a result.”
That’s what they’ll be looking to do on Saturday against a Seattle Sounders FC side that also dropped their first two matches. Seattle fell 1-0 to Sporting KC in their home opener after being reduced to 10 men, before suffering a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake this past weekend.
The somewhat new-look Sounders, who lost star striker Obafemi Martins to China, also fell victim to a few mistakes in their first two matches. And their new front three of Jordan Morris, Nelson Valdez, and Clint Dempsey have yet to score a goal from the run of play in 360 minutes of action (including two CONCACAF Champions League outings).
As Robinson put it: “Something’s got to give.”
Both teams will obviously have some extra motivation going into this Cascadia derby – the first one of 2016. Just don’t call them desperate.
“To call us desperate teams after two games is a little early,” said Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted. “We’re aware that they definitely want to win as well. And we want to get on the board. But to panic now would be immature as a team. I don’t think we need to do that.”
What the ‘Caps do need, according to Ousted, is to show a little more urgency from minute one.
“I think a Cascadia Cup game against a rival in a great place to play is going to bring that urgency out,” he said. “As a leadership group, we’ll be in the ear of the young guys, calming them down, and just making sure that we’re ready for Saturday.”