'Caps have mountain to climb against Colorado 0
Colorado Rapids FC players celebrate Wells Thompson's (4th L) goal against the Vancouver Whitecaps as Eric Hassli walks past during the second half of their MLS soccer match in Vancouver, British Columbia October 22, 2011. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)
The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to give themselves a semblance of breathing space from the chasing pack Saturday when they take on the Colorado Rapids in a key MLS Western Conference clash.
While the ’Caps (10-7-6) currently occupy second place in the increasingly congested standings, their hold on that comfortable position is precarious at best.
Vancouver and Colorado (9-7-9) both have 36 points, but the Whitecaps sit above the Rapids because of more wins.
The division is so tight out that even a draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday could see the Whitecaps fall to the fifth and final playoff spot.
Midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker said his team needs to treat every game like a “Cup final.”
Colorado is currently riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, but the Rapids run shouldn’t faze a Whitecaps team that has lifted its game when venturing outside BC Place in 2013, losing just twice away from home since early May.
Taking into account the congested standings, how do the ’Caps approach the coming games from a psychological perspective?
It’s fairly simple, according to head coach Martin Rennie.
“You don’t focus on any games. You just focus on one and make sure that everybody knows what they’re doing for that game and everybody is absolutely keyed up for it and focused on it,” the Scotsman said. “I think that’s the best approach.”
With only three points separating Vancouver from seventh-placed FC Dallas, one could argue Vancouver can ill-afford to rest on their laurels after a win. On the flipside, a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world.
“We’re just focused on what we need to do to win,” Rennie said. “Every time you win you jump up, and the more you can go on a winning run you can get quite far up there pretty quickly because other teams are going to beat each other.”