BURNABY, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps know they’re not out of the woods just yet, but the confidence seems to be there that this four-game homestand will be a turning point from what has been a very challenging two-month period.
Since July 20, the Whitecaps have just three wins from 15 matches, but in terms of scheduling it’s difficult to imagine any team having an easy time given the circumstances – of those games, only five have been in Vancouver.
Now, though, the club wraps up the season with four out of the final five matches at home, starting with the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. It’s a sort of battle of extremes, playing so many matches on the road, and then getting a run of games at home, but despite the sagging form, the club is still in a playoff position as things stand, one point ahead of FC Dallas and with a game in hand.
“The positive thing is that kind of hard road trip – those four or five games in a row away from home can drag you down,” captain Jay DeMerit said this week after a training session at Swangard Stadium. “But the good thing is we have a lot to look forward to, because the next four games are at home. You can control your own destiny especially when you have your fans and the atmosphere is on your side.
“Hopefully we can now give teams what we received on the road – that has to be the main idea moving forward to Sunday.”
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And despite the rub of the green going against the ‘Caps in recent weeks during their matches, head coach Martin Rennie admits results from those teams in and around their pack have gone in his side’s favour, lessening the consequences.
“Other teams have lost a lot of games too,” Rennie said. “Although we’ve not played well, we find ourselves in a very good position. Sometimes if you’re on a bad run you don’t get away with that.”
While some have attributed the team’s struggles to the midseason personnel shuffle, midfielder John Thorrington feels the additions are about to show their worth when it matters most.
“Chemistry takes time, in terms of getting that continuity,” Thorrington said. “But we’ve brought in some experienced guys, guys that will help us on the field, and their experience will help us off the field.
“I’m sure that’ll be bear fruit in these next few games.”