A 10-minute meltdown left Martin Rennie and the Vancouver Whitecaps shell-shocked in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in Northern California on Saturday night.
Soaring after Sébastien Le Toux put them in front 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium, the ‘Caps continued to pile on the pressure and looked dangerous until Chris Wondolowski struck in the 68th minute – a goal that appeared to take the wind right out of Vancouver’s sails.
“It’s hard to believe that game ended up the way it did,” head coach Martin Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 after the match. “If someone had told me we were going to lose that game 3-1 I would never, ever have believed it. Obviously with how well we’ve defended over the season and how solid we’ve looked, you would never have thought that.
WATCH: San Jose 3, Vancouver 1
“And they weren’t creating a lot either, so to end up on the end of that is very disappointing.”
San Jose seemed invigorated by the equalizing goal, and four minutes later, Alan Gordon scored with a grazing header before Wondolowski struck again on the volley to secure the 3-1 result.
“Well, to be honest, we just shut off for about 10 to 15 minutes there,” captain Jay DeMerit told reporters after the match. “It’s a great learning experience for us because it’s the first time that’s happened this season. Of course there’s natural disappointment there, in the way that you go away from home and get a goal up, and then it takes a freak 10 minutes and you’re 3-1 down.
"There’s a lot of hanging heads in the dressing room right now, because I think we’re all a little bit disappointed in that [stretch] of the game.
“Still, I think that today we played our best stuff [offensively], created the most chances and got forward the best we have all season. If we can combine the past five games we’ve played defensively, and how we’ve done offensively today, then those are things we can take into next week.”
Vancouver can also take some solace in the fact they’ve set a new MLS shutout record to begin a season at 427 minutes, although in some ways, the record leaves a sour feeling given the final result.
“It was kind of ironic,” Rennie told TEAM 1410. “After getting an MLS record for the longest time with a shutout, to then lose three right after that was hard to believe. The outcome is hugely disappointing given that we were playing so well.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.