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The Vancouver Whitecaps kept it tight at the back for their fifth clean sheet of the season in a 1-0 win over FC Dallas on Saturday, playing a counterattacking game at home.

VANCOUVER – Score early and defend.

It’s a strategy teams generally employ on the road, but the Vancouver Whitecaps executed a counter-attacking defensive gameplan Saturday night, getting an 11th minute goal from Camilo before sitting back to hold on for a 1-0 win over FC Dallas.

“I think first of all pleased to get the win,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters after the match. “I think it was a hardworking professional performance, and I think that’s what we need to do week in, week out.  I felt that against [Sporting] KC [in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss] we were a bit too naïve in the way we opened up at times, and after we lost a goal we opened up a bit too much. 

“Professional soccer isn’t just about chasing the game and leaving yourself wide open, you have to be solid and we got back to that tonight and I think that was, you know, the big reason behind our win.”

The Whitecaps kept it tight at the back to keep their fifth clean sheet of the season – a relief to captain Jay DeMerit after the team conceded six times over the previous two matches.

“Tonight we asked for character,” DeMerit told Goal.com following the match. “Character to bounce back and to rectify the performances that we have had the past couple of games, and I think we did that tonight. We showed good character to get behind the ball and just do the hard work.

“That’s been our key to success all year and that’ll continue to be the key to success all season. When 11 of us, and the subs, do that throughout the whole 90 minutes, nine times of 10 we get a good result, and tonight was no different.”

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Another theme of the night was change. Rennie tinkered with his lineup, dropping four players from Wednesday’s defeat, sitting experienced players Eric Hassli, Davide Chiumiento, John Thorrington and Atiba Harris.

That meant Omar Salgado picked up his first start of 2012, slotting in at left wing, with Matt Watson and Jun Marques Davidson playing as part of a midfield three. Camilo made his first start of the month at the top of the attacking group after recovering from a quadriceps injury.

“In midfield we wanted to match up against their midfield, who are set quite deep with a huge gap to the front player, so Davidson shielded the back four really well for us,” Rennie said. “Koffie and Watson athletically did a great job for us. They won a lot of second balls.  Part of our thought there was Omar worked so hard and was deserving of his chance. 

“You could see a little glimmer of hope of him in the future and that’s exciting for everyone at the club.  Camilo, now that he’s back healthy, we want to give him as many opportunities for him as possible, so I think most of the things we did today worked out for us.  Obviously if you win than it looks like it worked out for you.”

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