VANCOUVER, B.C. – Even though the Vancouver Whitecaps are in the midst of a tailspin similar to the one that nearly saw the club crash out of the postseason in 2012, head coach Martin Rennie insists there’s still everything to play for.
From the playoffs to the Cascadia Cup – even MLS Cup itself – the club could still achieve all of their objectives, starting with a first-ever MLS win against the Portland Timbers at BC Place on Sunday (8 pm ET; MLS Live).
This despite a poor run in which the 'Caps have picked up just two wins in their last 11 matches.
“When you refocus, you say, look, ‘This season we've beaten LA for the first time, we've beaten New York for the first time, we've beaten Seattle for the first time, we want to go out and beat Portland for the first time.’
“We want to get the most points the team's ever had, we want to get the most wins the team's ever had, already we've got the most goals we've ever had. We want to get the best goal difference we've ever had. We want to win a Cascadia Cup, we want to make the playoffs, we want to a win a championship, and we're in a position to do all of those things as we stand.”
Still, before fans and staff start planning the parade down Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, some housework will need to be taken care of.
Vancouver still sit four points back of the fifth and final playoff spot, occupied by the Colorado Rapids. The thinking is the 'Caps must win three of their four remaining games, with two of those wins coming from the final two home-and-away matches against the Rapids.
Part of making sure the team exits these four games with the requisite points will come down to starting strongly – an issue of late for the ‘Caps. They’ve conceded within the 10-minute mark in four of their last six games.
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“We just need to get on the front foot,” left full back Jordan Harvey said. “If we do that, we'll be fine. In games past, we've let teams get a goal, and that's tough to come back from a goal in this league. If we go in at half 0-0, I know we have the team that can really see it through.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.