Dos Santos: Winless Vancouver Whitecaps have shown growth despite slow start - InfoNews

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Dos Santos: Winless Vancouver Whitecaps have shown growth despite slow start

Vancouver Whitecaps' Felipe Martins (8) reacts after a play against the Seattle Sounders during the second half MLS soccer action in Vancouver on Saturday March 30, 2019. Martins says the Vancouver Whitecaps' poor start won't necessarily define their season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ben Nelms
April 11, 2019 - 4:00 AM

VANCOUVER - Felipe Martins says the Vancouver Whitecaps' poor start won't necessarily define their season.

"I think when you win a couple of games at the beginning of the season (it) of course gives you much more confidence than when you start a little behind," the midfielder said after training this week. "But a couple of teams in the past show it doesn't matter how you start, it's how you finish."

The Whitecaps (0-4-1) dropped a 2-0 decision to the L.A. Galaxy last Friday and have yet to secure a win in Major League Soccer this year.

Last week's game saw a series of highs and lows. Vancouver left back Ali Adnan bungled an early penalty kick but the team played a strong first half, containing the Galaxy's dominant star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The group needs to take those positives and move forward, said midfielder Russell Teibert.

"Unfortunately it's not going our way right now but that just takes a little bit of luck to change," he said. "We're doing the right things. We played our best half of football this season (on Friday) and we've got to keep building on that."

Manager Marc Dos Santos admitted that being winless five games into the season is frustrating but said he's seen progression in his team through each match.

"We can say there's lack of finishing, lack of opportunities. But the team has shown growth in every game," he said.

The 'Caps will get another chance to turn the tides on Friday when they visit the Chicago Fire (1-2-2), who are coming off a 2-2 draw with Toronto FC last weekend.

To capture three points, they'll have to shutdown Chicago forward CJ Sapong. The 30-year-old American leads his team in scoring with three goals in five games.

Vancouver also needs to find a way to score.

The team currently hovers around the bottom of the league when it comes to goals for with four goals in five games. They're tied with New York City FC for the second-worst scoring record in the league, but both squads are ahead of reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United FC, who have just two goals in their first four games.

Striker Fredy Montero was widely hailed as part of a solution to the Whitecaps scoring woes when he re-signed with the club in February after a stint in Portugal. The 31-year-old Columbian international has a single goal in the club's first five games of the year.

Dos Santos said Montero is still re-adjusting to playing in MLS and the coaching staff are still figuring out where he best fits on the field.

"I think the only way we're going to succeed is if we're a team that everybody is fighting towards one direction in the sense that nobody's bigger than the team," said Dos Santos.

Montero said he's feeling good individually, but knows he's capable of better performances.

"I'm not focused on myself because the point of the team is that we need a victory," he said.

Getting that win will require the team relying on their experience, the veteran added.

"It's not been easy for this team to keep a clean sheet and at the moment, we need to work on that first and then build the attacking," he said. "Every single corner, every single free kick, we need to use that as an opportunity to score and at the moment we're lacking on that."

The team's slump has been tough to take, Montero said.

"I'm not comfortable, I'm not content with the result," he said. "I'm not content with all that's been happening the last month. ... I want to win."

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (0-4-1) AT CHICAGO FIRE (1-2-2)

Friday, SeatGeek Stadium

FAMILIAR FACE: The Whitecaps will likely see a former teammate in Chicago's net. Goalkeeper David Ousted played for the 'Caps from 2013 to 2017, and signed with the Fire in January. The 34-year-old has started all five games for Chicago this season, saving 14 of the 23 shots he's faced.

THE HISTORY BOOKS: There have been five previous meetings between the clubs. The Whitecaps hold the edge, winning three of the contests. Vancouver won the last match up 3-2 on July 7 but Chicago prevailed just a week prior, routing the Whitecaps 4-0.

TOUGH TRAVEL: Friday's match will kick off a series of three games in eight days for the 'Caps. After facing the fire in Chicago, the squad will head back to Vancouver where they'll battle LAFC on April 17. The Whitecaps will then travel to their furthest MLS competitors, Orlando City SC, for a game on April 20. Dos Santos said the league's schedule is always difficult and he'll rotate some players as needed over the stretch.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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