After riding an emotional roller coaster on Wednesday in a 3-2 loss to Toronto FC, the Vancouver Whitecaps are looking to respond against the Chicago Fire on Saturday (8:30 pm; watch LIVE online).
The second half of the TFC loss is particularly fresh in the minds of staff and players, as Darren Mattocks’ incredible, leaping, stoppage-time equalizer was cancelled out by a late winner from ex-Whitecap Terry Dunfield.
The stage is now set for a bounce-back against another team in red.
“It’s an exciting game for us,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters in Chicago. “We’re looking forward to it. Chicago is obviously a well-established team in Major League Soccer. A big team with a great stadium and a passionate crowd that follow them. It’s an exciting game to play in and coach and be a part of so we’ve worked well on a few things today making sure that we learn from a few mistakes we made on Wednesday night.”
Rennie is pleased with the 12 points his team has managed to gather from his side’s 10 matches on the road thus far and hoping to add to that total.
“We’ve won three games and I think we have three ties on the road already,” Rennie said. “So that’s a good return from road games – they are tough games.
“Obviously you’re going to lose some here and there, and it’s most important that you don’t get too disappointed and too down about that but at the same time you learn from those errors and use it to drive you to be better. And I think whenever we’ve not done well we’ve used that motivation to do well and we need to do that again [Saturday].”
Saturday’s match against Chicago represents the final game of a five-game road trip. And Rennie’s not the only one in the locker room who’s fixated on righting the wrongs of Toronto.
“It’s hugely important,” captain Jay DeMerit said of the Chicago game. “This is the end of the road trip. We come back to BC Place for a week after this so it will be great to end it on a high note, especially after the sour taste we have in our mouth from Toronto the other day. We look to these games to put those types of things right, so we’re looking forward to the game tomorrow and hope it goes well.”
Newly-acquired winger Dane Richards, who joined Vancouver from the New York Red Bulls for attacker Sebastien Le Toux and allocation money, will be available for selection against the Fire.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.