'Caps, Rennie at a loss to explain string of poor results

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The tailspin continues for the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Falling 2-1 to the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field Saturday night, the loss marked the club’s third straight defeat as the playoffs approach.

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“It was one of those games were there were just so many poor performances and so many mistakes,” head coach Martin Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 after the match. “Even the [game-winning] goal was a mistake and there were just mistakes happening all over the field, so that was disappointing.

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“Obviously we’re in a tough little run at the moment. The last couple of games haven’t been to the standard we would have expected and neither was this game. We have to dig deep right now and find more strength to bounce back.”

This latest result means the ‘Caps have now picked up just eight points over their last 10 matches. While Vancouver still occupies the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference with 37 points, FC Dallas is closing. That club is five points back and have 18 points over their last 10 games.

In Saturday’s loss, it was a Joe Cannon error that proved the decisive moment, as the veteran ‘keeper seemed to move well to get his body in front of a 55th-minute Franck Songo'o free kick effort, only to let the ball slip underneath him for what turned out to be the decider.

Rennie suggested the errors didn’t stop with his goalkeeper though, and admitted the club’s recent struggles are a bit of a mystery given the level of experience in the squad.

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“I can’t really fathom [the errors],” Rennie said. “But ultimately there were a lot of technical breakdowns there. Part of it is it is a very small field. There’s not a lot of room so you have to be smart in how you play. But there were a lot of simple passes that didn’t connect and that’s frustrating and disappointing.

“Right now we’re in that moment of having to dig deep and show character. That’s important that we stick together. Obviously we’ll get criticism for it and rightly so, but at the end of the day we know what we have to do to bounce back and we need to get those performances right.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.