Nizar Khalfan whips in a cross against Colorado, July 9, 2011.

Soehn pleased with young Whitecaps' performance


Camilo Sanvezzo’s 77th-minute goal wasn’t enough. The return from injury of Michael Nanchoff wasn’t enough. The insertion of newcomer Jordan Harvey into the starting lineup wasn’t enough.

But the last-place Vancouver Whitecaps, who fell 2-1 away to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, did not leave Dick’s Sporting Goods Park with their heads down. Quite the contrary: They felt buoyed by their performance.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Colorado 2, Vancouver 1

“We gave a lot of young guys some time,” coach Tom Soehn said after the match. “They’re starting to understand the way we want to play. We created enough opportunities that you feel disappointed not getting the result. I feel we’re getting close, and I commend [the players] on their effort today — they never stopped battling.”

The youthfulness of the starting XI, which was without veterans Eric Hassli, Jay DeMerit and Davide Chiumiento, was rather startling. Six of Vancouver’s starters were 23 or younger, including two teenagers, and two of the three subs were, as well.

But the kids were alright. They attacked when they had possession and didn’t back down against the defending MLS Cup champions.

“I was pretty proud of our young team,” goalkeeper Joe Cannon said. “I thought the product we had out there was something that hopefully our fans can get behind in the future and we can try to build off it.”

Nanchoff, in particular, enjoyed an inspiring first career start. Having missed action due to injury this season, he had a strong performance.

“It’s pretty simple, I feel fantastic,” Nanchoff told the TEAM 1410 radio station in Vancouver following the match. “The result is unfortunate, but for me to get out there, especially coming back from injury, and playing a full 90, it felt great.”

Soehn had originally hoped not to use Nanchoff for the full 90, but he was forced to keep the eighth overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft on the field longer than planned.

“I think he got tired at the end,” Soehn said. “We were forced to make a couple of subs early, which kept him on the field. But I think it was a great experience for him.”

It was also a great experience for Soehn himself to see his new acquisition, Harvey, slot into the starting lineup and settled into the side’s style of play, despite his not having practiced with the team even once.

“For Jordan, coming in and adapting as fast as he did shows the experience he has,” Soehn said. “Defensively, he was sound, and he got in the attack like we asked him. I thought he had a good, solid performance, especially as he’s only been with us for a day.”

All in all, in spite of the loss, the Whitecaps are leaving the Rockies with a sense of renewed energy as they head into what will be a very difficult next match.

“We’ve got Salt Lake coming in next week,” Cannon said, “and hopefully we can use this as a platform.”

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