VANCOUVER, BC – Belief.
To a man, that was a word used by Vancouver Whitecaps FC coaches and players as they met with the media on Tuesday after training.
The ‘Caps are in a tough stretch at the moment, having lost three straight matches. There’s no denying that. But there are still nine games to go – plus three more in CONCACAF Champions League play – and they’re not giving up hope.
Following Tuesday’s session, the team and coaches sat in a circle at centre pitch and had a lengthy team talk. The message, according to Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson, was this:
“I just said to the guys, I want you to play,” Robinson told reporters. “Not be safe. I want you to have a go, because if we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down fighting.”
Robinson also told the group that “decisions will be made” to help get the ‘Caps out of this slump.
“I’ve gone passed the stage of thinking that people need to play if they’re not playing well,” Robinson said. “I said to the group there, decisions will be made based upon trying to win a game of football on Saturday.”
One player who’s itching to get back into the lineup is Russell Teibert.
The Canadian midfielder, who had been dealing with a quad strain, hasn’t seen any MLS minutes since June 25. Interestingly, he was a big part of the 2014 ‘Caps that won four of their last five matches – and drew the other – to qualify for the post-season.
Teibert said he feels this year’s team is more than capable of going on a similar run.
He also offered up this rallying cry of sorts when asked if the last few weeks have been more difficult on him considering his history with the club.
“It’s difficult for everyone. Not only the guys on the team, not only the guys in the office, but for the fans as well. You feel for them. They’ve been with us through tough times, through good times as well. It took an entire fan base, it took all of us to make the playoffs the past couple of years, and it’s going to take that again. We know they’re supporting us.”
“For the people that have written us off, we’re not paying attention to that noise,” Teibert continued. “We know our fans are going to support us through and through. We have our belief in our locker room. We have talent in this locker room, and you know what, that’s a pretty decent recipe for success. We know it’s going to be a grind, and we’re ready for it.”
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