To say the Vancouver Whitecaps offense is misfiring is incorrect. In reality, it isn’t firing at all.
For the second consecutive match, the Whitecaps failed to record a single shot on target as per official MLS stats, a fact head coach Martin Rennie disputed immediately following Saturday’s scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union.
“We had two one-on-ones that were saved by a goalkeeper, so we must have had at least two shots,” Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410. “Obviously we’re working on it in terms of going forward and creating chances. At the end of the day, I’ve built two or three teams in the past and I’ve always found this is the part that takes a little bit longer to get clicking.
"The most important thing is that you’re competing and organized and hard to play against, picking up points and picking up wins. We’re not clicking yet, but we’re doing well.”
Indeed, despite only scoring three goals from four matches played, the ‘Caps are still undefeated. That’s mainly due to a tight defensive system and some heroics from goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who has already claimed two MLS Save of the Week awards.
For a team that failed to win at all away from home in 2011, the disappointment that followed Saturday’s draw indicates a positive change in mentality, according to the coach.
“We do think we could’ve done a little bit more [Saturday],” Rennie told reporters in Philadelphia. “I think that shows some progress with the club, that there’s not satisfaction with a point on the road, even though it’s a long travel. Four clean sheets in a row, those are all positive things, but to build the kind of team we want to build we’ve got to have higher expectations than that.”
With Camilo, Eric Hassli and Darren Mattocks missing from the attacking ranks due to injury, the lack of punch against the Union was understandable. But the coach suggested certain players need to step up in order for the club to overcome its offensive woes.
“I know what it takes and how that comes together, so it doesn’t always happen right away,” Rennie said. “It often requires an individual guy or maybe two guys to take the bull by the horns, and we haven’t quite found that yet, but I do think that it will come.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.