Whitecaps buzzing after win snaps suffocating streak

BURNABY, B.C. — After finally getting back in the win column, Vancouver Whitecaps FC returned to training on Tuesday with a rejuvenated sense of enthusiasm.

The monkey is officially off the team’s back after a 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Union last Saturday, leaving the club with newfound hope after they snapped an MLS-record 14-game winless streak.

“You can see the guys are buzzing a bit,” captain Jay DeMerit said after training. “These are the days you come in after a hard-fought win and you enjoy being out here. I think the more we do that, the more confidence and the more fun we’ll have as the season moves along.”

The win was the first since the season opener on March 19 for the Whitecaps, who return to action on Saturday on the road against Sporting Kansas City. And the team is feeding off renewed optimism.

“For sure, it does a lot,” midfielder Davide Chiumiento said. “We have much more fun in training. Everybody is smiling and that’s important to start the week. “

After three months of close games with only draws and losses to show for their hard work, the team now feels as though they can legitimately turn their season around.

“It gives you a bit of relief and a bit of confidence,” DeMerit said. “That’s something that we were lacking to finish off games. I think everyone has seen that the majority of the performance has been there, it’s just those little things — that confidence side of things — and little wins like that can give you that back and hopefully now we can take that into the next couple of games.”

The boost of confidence comes ahead of a critical week-long road trip that sees them start in Kansas City this weekend, followed by a league matchup with Toronto FC on June 29 and then an all-important replay of the second leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship at TFC on July 2.

“We know that it was an important win on the weekend,” Chiumiento said. “But it’s important also to train well this week and prepare for Saturday. We need to win then, too. We must keep our feet on the ground, because if we start to lose other games, then the win from last Saturday won’t be important. “