After asking reporters earlier in the week if Sporting KC was the best team in MLS, Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie got his answer as Vancouver fell 3-1 at home Wednesday night
VANCOUVER – Martin Rennie asked reporters this week if Sporting KC was indeed the best team in MLS.
Wednesday night, the Vancouver Whitecaps coach got his answer, as Sporting executed a “textbook” road game, scoring on set pieces and benefitting from a Martin Bonjour own goal in a 3-1 win.
“I don’t have any doubt that they’re the best team in MLS right now,” Rennie told reporters following the match. “I think that would be very hard to argue. But all I was saying was that you judge the best team over the course of a season. But certainly if they keep that going they’ll be right up there as one of the best, and certainly the best right now.”
Aurelien Collin opened the scoring, latching onto a Roger Espinoza shot which rebounded off a Whitecaps defender, opportunistically sliding the ball into the back of the net, before Bonjour’s second half own goal and Kei Kamara’s 3-0 effort.
Going into the half down by one, Rennie admitted he contemplated taking Eric Hassli off the field. The big Frenchman was cautioned in the first period of play for a tackle on Kei Kamara in the sixth minute, and nearly received a second after an altercation with Collin on the stroke of halftime.
“The only [change] we considered was Eric, because he had that yellow card and people were on him a bit,” Rennie said. “But I don’t think there was any real reason to change it at that point. Even in the first half it wasn’t like we were under a lot of pressure or didn’t have a lot of possession. We were still going forward and creating chances, so there wasn’t a real reason to change it too much at that point.
“It was a sucker punch second goal because we were playing reasonably well, getting forward and showing good energy, so when you lose that second goal it’s a killer. Even the first one, the way we were playing we had two or three chances where we showed a little bit of a lack of confidence to not go and finish those with conviction, and then it goes down the other end and we switch off on a set play. So that’s disappointing to do that on two goals tonight, but things we can improve on.”
While players and the coach admitted things didn’t go to plan at the back, it wasn’t roses up front either.
Substitute Omar Salgado brought the lone bit of positivity for the ‘Caps, sending in a well-hit cross which Camilo rung off the bar with a header before Sebastien Le Toux finished from close range, but apart from that there wasn’t much for the fans at BC Place to shout about.
The Whitecaps scrambled in the final minutes to try and get themselves back in the match, but Eric Hassli’s stoppage time whiff summed up Vancouver’s struggles on the night. The big Frenchman found himself wide open in front of goal after Jimmy Nielsen gave up a generous rebound following a powerful Long Tan effort, but he swung hopelessly and missed the ball completely, meaning the designated player has now gone an incredible 15 games without a goal.