VANCOUVER, B.C. – David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Landon Donovan.
Most teams in world soccer would love to have those three in their lineup, but for the Vancouver Whitecaps, the job this Saturday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) is ensuring the crowd at The Home Depot Center doesn't get a chance to sing their names.
“A lot of firepower, of course,” captain Jay DeMerit told MLSsoccer.com after training on Thursday when asked about the trio. “Those guys can create not only chances themselves, but as a collective.
“We’re going to have to defend well, and it’s not just us four at the back — it’s the full eleven. Cutting down space, making sure we communicate enough that we stay with runners and make sure we give them a hard day.”
After a strong first half performance against the New York Red Bulls last weekend, things unraveled in the second for the ‘Caps as the home side managed to equalize through Juan Agudelo. That despite playing a man down for the entire second 45.
The key for the LA game lies in putting a strong performance together over the course of a full match, not just for a brief period of play.
“There’s no secret to what [LA are] about,” head coach Tom Soehn said. “Right now, they’re the best team in the league and it’s going to be up to us to make sure we contain the guys who are dangerous.
“It’s a big field. We’re going to have to stay organized and compact like we were against New York, but do it for 90 minutes.”
The aim for the club now is to use the remaining games to develop consistency and build a base for next season.
“You’d hope that guys start to figure it out sooner than later,” DeMerit said. “We’re running out of time for this season. The accountability that we have to have as a group is just as important as it has been from day one.
“That has been our problem as far as inconsistencies go, so we need to continue to work on that and make sure it gets better every week.”
- Davide Chiumiento is listed as questionable but looked fine in practice on Thursday. He should be fit for the bench at the very least, but don’t be surprised if he starts.
- John Thorrington is also listed as questionable, and on Thursday Soehn said he was “leaning towards not taking him [to LA].”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon