Vancouver Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie made five changes to last week's starting lineup for Saturday’s match against the LA Galaxy, but he got the same result – yet another loss.
The 2-0 defeat at the Home Depot Center marks Vancouver’s fourth league loss in a row, as in came Brad Knighton in goal, Martin Bonjour and Jordan Harvey in defense, and Matt Watson and Russell Teibert in midfield.
Lacking fluency in attack, the ‘Caps failed to register a single shot on target, and only attempted two shots all match.
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“Right now there may be a bit of a lack of confidence,” Watson told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “It’s something we’re working on and trying to stay positive but you take a couple of losses and in the back of your head, you’re thinking, ‘what happens if we lose today, what happens if we lose today?’
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“That’s something we need to get rid of so we can play with some freedom. I think when you play with freedom you play the best, you know? I think we came out a little bit tame tonight. Maybe offensively we didn’t get forward enough and create enough chances.”
Still, despite getting outplayed by the defending MLS Cup champions, it wasn’t a defensive breakdown that led to the goals, but rather two fine individual strikes.
First, Juninho broke the deadlock with a long-range wonder goal on 41 minutes, before David Beckham gave the Home Depot Center crowd a performance from his greatest hits album by curling a free kick into the top left corner of Knighton’s goal.
“Any time you give someone of that quality a spot that he likes to bend over the wall, he’s going to make those nine out of 10 times,” Knighton said of Beckham’s goal. “Unfortunately it was a tough foul for us to give there, and he did what he does best.”
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The loss means for the first time in Rennie’s tenure the ‘Caps are under .500, as they drop to a record of 10-11-7.
“We’ve got good players,” Rennie said. “They’ve not become bad players overnight. We’ve got a good spirit within our group and there’s a lot of positives we can take from it despite the loss. I’m confident we’ll get it turned around. It’s always difficult when you lose a few games – to lose four games [in a row] is something I’ve never been involved in before.
“It’s a good challenge, it’s a good test. It’s a good test of character, a good test of how you bounce back.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.