Vancouver Whitecaps remain confident despite tough season start: coach - InfoNews

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Vancouver Whitecaps remain confident despite tough season start: coach

March 29, 2019 - 2:10 PM

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos says his team is frustrated but remains confident amidst a tough start to the season.

The Whitecaps (0-3-0) haven't taken a single point this season and are off to the worst start since the club entered Major League Soccer in 2011.

Still, the players are committed to working hard and improving, Dos Santos said.

"I don't see players with their head down, not training, not having the right mentality," the coach said after training on Thursday.

"Are they frustrated and me too? Yes. And it's normal. We're in sports. It's not "Mr. Rogers' Neighbourhood" where everything's nice and everybody's happy. Real life's not like that. There are moments that are difficult."

Despite three losses in a row, Dos Santos sees positives in how his group has played.

The team has created multiple chances and scored multiple goals against tough teams like Minnesota United and the Houston Dynamo.

"I feel that all the losses are played in little details," Does Santo said. "Some calls could have been better and some of our decision making in some plays has to be better. So I see little things only that could make a difference."

This weekend, the 'Caps will face their toughest challenge yet — the surging Seattle Sounders.

The Sounders (3-0-0) sit near the top of the table, thanks to a talented and experienced core group of players including striker Raul Ruidiaz.

"We know Seattle's a great team. We've played them many times. They have a lot of threats," said Vancouver's Doneil Henry. "We know what they have but we know what we have and we know what we have to do to get three points."

The rivalry between the two western clubs runs deep, with 138 previous meetings dating back to 1974.

Even players new to the Whitecaps will get an extra energy from playing the Cascadia contest this weekend, Henry said.

"I think they have to understand that this is a game that's like life or death," said the centre back. "It’s for bragging rights, it's for who's the best, who wins the cup. And I think if you can't wake up and get excited for a game like this, if it doesn't give you goose bumps, I don't know if you should be playing."

The 'Caps had a break from MLS play last week due to the international break. While six players were away with their national teams, the rest of the club continued to train in Vancouver.

That training can help change the team's record in an emotional match up this weekend, said midfielder Felipe Martins.

"You've got to be fully concentrated, healthy and run," he said. "More than anything for me, this game we've got to be able to fight and demonstrate how determined how we are to make points, to grow and to, in a month for now, be talking about the winnings not the losses."

Fredy Montero has played on both sides of the Cascadia rivalry, suiting up for the Sounders from 2009 through 2012, then moving to the Whitecaps in 2017.

After spending last year with Sporting CP of the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Montero returned to Vancouver this season and said he's looking forward to playing in another Vancouver-Seattle derby.

"I guarantee you, no player wants to lose those games. We're going to play hard, we're going to defend our city and of course we're going to try to win this game," he said.

"It's not going to be easy, I know that. We're going to suffer. But at the end of the game, we're going to be happy with these three points."

SEATTLE SOUNDERS (3-0-0) AT VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (0-3-0)

Saturday, B.C. Place

THE HISTORY BOOKS: Over 22 MLS matchups, the Sounders boast the better record (10-7-5). They've also scored more goals than the 'Caps (33-27) and have come away with points on five of their last six visits to B.C. Place.

STREAKING STRIKER: Ruidiaz scored in his sixth consecutive league match on March 16. The 28-year-old Peruvian forward's record goes back to Sept. 29 and he's scored eight goals across the span, good for the sixth-longest streak in MLS history. Ruidiaz is currently tied with fellow Sounder Jordan Morris, LAFC's Carlos Vela and Wayne Rooney of D.C. United for the most goals this MLS season.

INTERNATIONAL FIRST?: Saturday could mark the first time that two South Korean players face each other in MLS action. Hwang In-Beom returned to Vancouver on Wednesday after playing a pair of friendlies for his national squad last week. If the 22-year-old midfielder makes the roster this weekend, he could lineup against fellow Korean Kim Kee-hee, a 29-year-old defender who's playing his second season in Seattle.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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