Back-to-back road wins?
A week ago, any victory away from home didn’t seem possible for a Vancouver Whitecaps team that has been largely hapless when it comes to seizing results removed from the comforts of BC Place, but a battling 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls over the weekend has the team dreaming big about taking down Cascadia rivals the Seattle Sounders this weekend.
“That’s what we’re focused on doing,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters on Tuesday at the University of British Columbia. “We just want to be winning games, climbing the table. We’ve had a lot of games against the top teams so far, so we’ve got to take advantage of the teams coming up that we have a chance to play against.”
The match is anticipated to draw a massive crowd – on Tuesday the Seattle Sounders announced they have sold over 50,000 tickets for the affair – so Designated Player Kenny Miller is hoping the environment brings out the best in his teammates.
The Scotsman is no stranger to playing in matches with large crowds, having played in a number of Old Firm derbies with crowds in excess of 50,000 during his time with Celtic and Rangers. And he knows the occasion can benefit or hinder a player’s performance.
“That’s what you play football for, to play in that kind of hostile atmosphere,” Miller said. “You can take it two ways. You can become a shrinking violet and hide from it and let it affect you, or you use it as a motivation to try and silence that crowd.
“Sometimes silence can be just as loud, so if we can go there and get a goal and silence that crowd, it can only be an advantage to us."
This coming weekend, the 'Caps will also have the advantage of once again having Nigel Reo-Coker available for selection, after the Englishman missed out against the Red Bulls with a suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
While Reo-Coker was disappointed to miss out, he admits the break came at a good time given the busy May he’s experienced, and because to a certain extent he’s been playing catch up all season long in terms of fitness since he joined up with the team late on in preseason.
“I think it feels good for me and the body,” Reo-Coker said. “I came in this league without having a full proper preseason behind me. I’ve kind of gained my preseason through playing games and in a weird way, it kind of works that it helps the body to rest.
“Because even when you have an intense preseason, you still need a week or so to rest to let the body recuperate and I feel I’m getting that now and I can get back to the top of my game now – full of energy.”