Given how the Vancouver Whitecaps fared during the first half of their Phase 1 schedule, head coach Marc Dos Santos knew how important the second half would be. Three shutout losses and six goals against on the road will do that, though they rebounded slightly with a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC last weekend to begin a three-game homestand.
Vancouver must stay on this trajectory during their remaining two games at BC Place, Dos Santos stressed, when hosting the Montreal Impact for another two all-Canadian clashes. The first comes Sunday (9:30 pm ET | TSN1, TVA Sports, MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US), and then it’s a quick turnaround to their Wednesday encounter.
“After the three losses in a row in the East, to come back and being able to beat a team like Toronto, it’s still very positive and now you can build on that,” Dos Santos said. “You can get a second win in a row. We need – the little that we’re going to be home, we have to take advantage fully of it. That’s why it’s so important for us, the game on Sunday.”
In their Toronto win, club-record singing Lucas Cavallini got off the mark as Vancouver scored with all three of their shots on target. It wasn’t necessarily a masterclass performance, but Dos Santos feels it was a step forward.
“It’s one win from that line,” Dos Santos said. “You have to take advantage of that, so the game on Sunday, to start, is a really important game to get us across that line and to get us with the same amount of games and points [as] LAFC and to continue building on that.”
Dos Santos also dispelled the notion of playing spoilers against Montreal, who can still become MLS's representative in the Canadian Championship final against this year’s Canadian Premier League winner. The Impact are six points back of Toronto FC in the cup race, and need two wins and tiebreakers against Vancouver to defend their title.
The manager’s also not looking for excuses as the latest portion of the 2020 MLS regular season schedule gets released. Their only home game (technically speaking) is a September 27 meeting with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park. That Cascadia clash, of course, is actually at their rival’s stadium.
“Me as the leader of the group and the leader of the process, I don’t want to be a guy or the first guy in line trying to find [an] excuse on that,” Dos Santos said. “It’s an opportunity also to play home in Portland against Portland and beat Portland. That’s the mentality and the mindset we have to have, and not to cry too much about the schedule."