Sports Soccer

Whitecaps look to end April woes 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit battles Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. DeMerit says the players are focusing on the positives, such as a recent comeback draw against the Galaxy. (REUTERS)

Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit battles Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan. DeMerit says the players are focusing on the positives, such as a recent comeback draw against the Galaxy. (REUTERS)

The positive way to look at the latest result of the Vancouver Whitecaps would be to point out their resiliency — fighting back twice from one-goal deficits to muster a draw and earn an early-season single point instead of none.

The negative side was they couldn't pull off a victory at home and defensive miscues cost them a chance to even lead in the game en route to their third straight winless match.

But as a player, you of course want to focus on the first part.

"Back-to-back games (against the Los Angeles Galaxy), we held a great account of ourselves in a way that has to be a confidence booster knowing that if we tighten that screw a little bit more and continue to work and get better everyday — which we are — then maybe next time we play we'll be on the right end of the result," captain Jay DeMerit said this week. "A loss to a draw and hopefully the next game a win. That needs to be the focus for sure."

After a successful March, April hasn't been too kind to Vancouver.

They get a chance to fix that Saturday as they try to pick up their first win of the month at Real Salt Lake — the only team in Major League Soccer not to have lost a game yet. At home, RSL is 2-0-1 and are coming off a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.

The Whitecaps, who have scored just once away from BC Place, have yet to win on the road this season, losing once and tying twice so, yes, the desire to get that "monkey off the back" is there.

"There's not a lot of teams that do well on the road or pick up points so anytime you can do that, especially early in the season … that helps you climb up the table," DeMerit said. "The easiest way to do that is not just winning at home, but picking up points away from home."

In order to do that, those "little mistakes" defensively must be limited and head coach Carl Robinson was critical of the defending he saw from his squad.

"We haven't given up too many goals, but the goals we've given up could have been avoidable," he said, especially of last weekend's 2-2 draw with L.A. "It's something we need to work on. We didn't defend second phases really well and we have to make sure we address that."

But it's not all about what his team has been doing wrong, according to the first-year manager, as he lauded their comeback effort.

"It's great to see the young players having some fire in their bellies towards the end of the game and want to get something out of the game," he said. "The previous two matches we've played very well, but credit to the young boys who were on at the end and it showed a lot of character. We're getting more and more each day now which is good."

 

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