The Scottish tactician embraces playing top players, even though given his club's current seven-game winless streak, his team could do with playing weaker opposition.VANCOUVER, B.C. – Going up against designated players Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan isn’t going to make the job any easier for the Vancouver Whitecaps as they take on defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy at BC Place this weekend, but head coach Martin Rennie embraces the challenge.
Moreover, the Scotsman points out those sort of name-brand players help grow the game in North America.
“As a soccer fan, you want to see as many good players as you can,” Rennie told reporters at the University of British Columbia on Thursday. “It’s great to coach against them and to watch them close up. I think when [David] Beckham came to the league, stadiums were sold out simply from the fact he was there.
“I think there was a continuation of that even though he’s not with LA now, they still have other high-profile players, and I think fans want to come out and see those kinds of players. I embrace that. I think it’s good for the league and I think the league will have more of that.”
The Whitecaps are currently in the midst of a seven-game winless streak in Major League Soccer play, and hope to finally end that run against one of the league’s best ahead of the first leg of the Canadian Championship final against the Montreal Impact, before a meeting with Cascadia rivals Portland.
With the Vancouver Canucks National Hockey League team recently eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, this means the Whitecaps are also the only major Vancouver sports team actively competing and the club is hoping to use that status as the only show in town to ring in a few new fans.
“About five, six weeks ago I sat down with the team and I said, ‘we’ve got a chance to win a cup competition,’” Rennie said. “That’s one of the obvious focuses and goals, and also, the opportunity to beat LA for the first time and beat Portland for the first time.
“All those opportunities lie in front of us, and three of those four games are at BC Place. It’s an exciting time for us and it’s something that we need to embrace and make the most of.”