When Tom Soehn took over as Vancouver Whitecaps FC head coach, two things that he wanted his team to improve on were staying compact defensively and maintaining better possession.
His team did that on Wednesday, but unfortunately they struggled in several other aspects of the game as they fell 1-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field.
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“So many things I feel like we continue to work on and look to improve,” said Soehn after the match. “Our possession was much better, but not in the final third. I thought in the final third we lacked some creativity. There were plenty of times where we could have served the ball in and got into the mix and made good things happen.”
Part of the reason for that lack of creativity was the absence of playmaker Davide Chiumiento. The dynamic maestro normally pulls the strings for the ‘Caps’ attack but was out nursing a hamstring injury. Chiumiento wasn’t the only one missing either, as Soehn made eight changes from Saturday’s lineup against Sporting Kansas City.
“I think a lot of the guys that were getting time today, we were excited to get in there and play,” said goalkeeper Jay Nolly, making his first start since Soehn took over. “I think our possession was great, but we just didn’t break them down enough in the final third. We didn’t put enough shots on net. Offensively we just weren’t all together, but I feel like defensively as a team we did all right. We limited their chances. They didn’t have much, but we just need to have more hunger going forward.”
The ‘Caps will most definitely need that hunger to score on Saturday when they again face TFC, this time with the Nutrilite Canadian Championship – and with it a spot in the Concacaf Champions League - on the line. Vancouver needs to score to overcome Toronto’s away-goals advantage from a 1-1 draw at Empire Field in the first leg.
“We need to give ourselves more chances and more opportunities and that’s something that we have to still get smarter with,” said Soehn. “It’s an opportunity lost, and we can’t afford those, yet we can’t hang our heads because we have to turn around and do it again on Saturday.”
Whether or not Vancouver do win on Saturday, changes may well be on the way. After watching Toronto bring in Designated Players Torsten Frings and Danny Koevermans, Soehn made it clear that Vancouver won’t stand around while their rivals make moves.
“While we feel like we’re improving in some areas, the most important area we’re not improving is getting results,” said Soehn.