VANCOUVER, B.C. — Winless in their last eight league games, there is no dancing around the truth for Vancouver Whitecaps FC as they prepared to host the San Jose Earthquakes at Empire Field on Wednesday (10 pm, MatchDay Live).
“We need to get the three points,” goalkeeper Jay Nolly said. “That needs to be the goal.”
It’s certainly not uncommon for expansion teams to struggle in their first MLS season, but with the rich history of the club, the ‘Caps don’t consider themselves an expansion team and have made it clear that their goal is to make the MLS Cup Playoffs.
But they won’t get there without better results at home. Road woes were to be expected, but more needs to come from their matches at Empire Field than the six points from their first five home games.
“It’s always nicer to be at home; it’s a lot more comfortable environment,” Nolly said. “But I think there’s a lot more pressure to get points. Guys need to have a little bit more fire because in this league it’s tough to get points on the road, so you really need to do something good at home.”
San Jose come into the match equally desperate for a win. A successful 2010 season has so far not carried into 2011 for the Quakes, who are winless in their last five matches, including losses in their last three.
“Their record isn’t very good right and they’re a better team than their record shows, so they’re going to come out and try to get the three points off us,” said Whitecaps midfielder Shea Salinas, who played with San Jose from 2008-09. “But we have the same feeling. We feel that our record doesn’t show who we are, and we want the three points as well.”
The ‘Caps will be looking to capitalize on their recent momentum after a dramatic win over Montreal Impact in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, and their first point on the road in Chicago last Saturday.
“The two last games have given us something to build on,” midfielder Terry Dunfield said. “There’s no hiding from it: The game on Wednesday is a big game for us and we need those three points.”
While a 1-4-4 record is certainly not where he hoped his team would be at this point, head coach Teitur Thordarson is is still focused squarely on working with his team to improve and challenge for a postseason berth at the end of the season.
“You can point at games and say you should have done this or you should have done that, but that’s not how the league is,” Thordarson said. “Every game is a tough battle and as it looks to me, everybody is beating everybody. So anything can happen.”