VANCOUVER, B.C. — Vancouver Whitecaps FC began the season with an offensive explosion, scoring eight goals in their first four games.
But for all the fireworks from those first few games — they scored four times in their MLS debut alone back in March — the 'Caps offense has effectively gone cold of late, and it’s becoming a problem.
Vancouver have scored just five goals in their last eight games against MLS competition (including their 1-1 draw against Toronto FC in the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship last week) and have failed to score more than one goal in any game since April 2.
As the ‘Caps look to topple TFC in the second leg of the NCC final against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Wednesday (8 pm ET, Rogers Sportsnet), they know they need their luck to change soon.
Vancouver rang the post and crossbar more than once against Toronto in the series opener, and felt like they should have come away with more than draw on their home turf.
“It’s unbelievable that we didn’t score more goals,” said head coach Teitur Thordarson after the game.
Simply put, the Whitecaps need to score at least once against Toronto FC. A scoreless draw does them no good, since TFC hold the decisive edge after scoring an away goal in Vancouver.
“I think our chances are quite good, even if they have an away goal,” insisted Thordarosn. “If we can manage to come out with an effort like [we had in the first leg], then I definitely believe that my team can go to Toronto and score goals there.”
Whether or not they can score in Toronto, however, is another story. The ‘Caps have struggled to find the net against MLS teams on the road so far this season, scoring only twice in five matches while being shut out on three occasions, including their last two at Chicago and New England.
“If you look at the chances we created [against Toronto] compared to the last couple of weeks, you have to look at it as a positive,” defender Jay DeMerit said. “We have a belief that we can create those again when we go to Toronto.”
To get that much needed goal in Toronto, the ‘Caps will rely heavily on Designated Player Eric Hassli to strike again after the big man got going again with a long range goal in the first leg.
When asked about the goal, Hassli joked: “I close my eyes and I shoot.”
Whether shooting blind or not, at this point Vancouver will take goals however they can get them.