ORLANDO, Fla. – Another preseason victory and another shutout for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
But even though Saturday’s night’s narrow 1-0 win over Toronto FC brought a Disney Pro Soccer Classic trophy in tow – the first hardware under new manager Martin Rennie – ‘Caps captain Jay DeMerit wasn’t so thrilled.
“Anytime you win things it’s a positive, but after having such a good preseason this wasn’t the best way to finish,” he told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I think all of us will go into that locker room and be disappointed. We come out today and we should have won by a lot bigger margin.”
Fueling the sentiment may have been the profile of the squad which Toronto FC fielded on Saturday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It included several academy players, trialists and other first-year players, while the TFC regulars were back in Toronto preparing for a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg on March 7.
And when Camilo put Vancouver ahead in the 10th minute on a well-taken goal, there may have been a feeling among the Whitecaps that the goals would come easily and frequently.
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“Guys didn’t work hard enough, but hopefully that’s a blessing in disguise,” DeMerit said. “I’d rather have it this week than [First Kick vs. Montreal Impact]. But take the positives away from it: It’s still a win. Still kept a clean sheet. But ultimately still a lot of work to do.”
Said Rennie: “We didn’t play as well tonight as we had been in the other games in this tournament and most of preseason. But sometimes it’s a good sign if you’re not playing well and still win.”
Vancouver outplayed every MLS team in their previous tournament matches, emerging victorious in all three contests by a combined 7-0 score line. But things didn’t come as easy against TFC, although Rennie still felt "we were pretty comfortable in the game."
While acknowledging the tactical merits of a hard-working and enthusiastic Toronto FC side, the first-year MLS head coach was philosophical about Saturday night’s victory.
“We were in the kind of awkward situation that if we won 5-0, it’s whatever everybody expects,” he explained. “If we lose, it’s a big disaster. And if you win 1-0, it’s maybe not quite good enough. For me it is good enough and I’m happy with the guys and how we’re doing.”
Next up for Vancouver is Sunday afternoon’s Community Shield against Rennie’s former club, the Carolina RailHawks. The winner of that match also hoists a piece of silverware and Rennie is eager to make it two for two.
“It would be a great way to finish preseason if we could end up with winning two games that both have trophies.”