The Vancouver Whitecaps’ disappointing season came down to a lack of leadership, according to club president Bob Lenarduzzi.
Lenarduzzi spoke about the loss and his club’s disappointing campaign with Global News Morning BC on Monday.
“We lacked leaders,” Lenarduzzi said, according to a transcription from The Province’s Marc Weber. “We needed players on the pitch at certain times in games when things aren’t going well to lift others up around them. And the difference-makers haven’t been difference-makers.”
The Whitecaps were above the red line for much of the first half of the season, but were done in by a late season swoon that’s seen them go 1-7-4 in their last 12 matches. The second-place finisher in the Western Conference in 2015, Vancouver are now in ninth in the West, leading last-place Houston – who hold two games in hand on the ‘Caps – by just three points.
Some of the club’s higher-profile players have struggled, with captain and Designated Player Pedro Morales going 16 games without a goal before scoring in each of Vancouver's last two matches and promising attacker Kekuta Manneh missing the team’s last 13 games due to injury.
“We’ll look for players that have those leadership qualities, that are perhaps a little bit older, that can calm things down on the field when necessary,” Lenarduzzi said.
Said head coach Carl Robinson: “We haven’t been good enough, generally, across the board. We have to accept that and take responsibility for that, and I will. But I’ll get back to work and I’ll work even harder to try and find out the solutions to the problems that I faced this year.”