Reo-Coker labels Whitecaps 'soft' after RSL loss

The Englishman didn't pull any punches, describing his teammates in unflattering terms following a 2-0 away defeat to Real Salt Lake. Head coach Martin Rennie was equally critical.
The Vancouver Whitecaps are now winless in seven Major League Soccer matches, this after a 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium. And according to midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, who has captained the side in recent weeks, the team’s recent problems are due to players not bringing the requisite effort or attitude to the pitch.

“In all honesty, I just think right now at this moment, we’re a soft team,” Reo-Coker told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “We need to be tougher. Being tougher doesn’t mean running around physically smashing everyone, or putting in hard tackles.  It means being tough and hard to beat. Defending properly, running back, doubling back, helping your teammates and making unselfish runs.

“The reality is, we’re a soft team. We’re very soft right now.”

Head coach Martin Rennie was equally miffed at his team’s performance, and for the first time in his tenure in Vancouver, threw his players under the bus in a bid to get some sort of reaction after a lifeless performance.

“The players have to decide whether they’ve got the desire or not,” Rennie said. “In my opinion, they need to apologize to the fans for that performance. They need to take a good, hard look at themselves and they need to decide if they want to be a part of the club going forward.

“We will, without any shadow of a doubt, build a team that will be very successful and will be full of players who have the desire required to play for the club. We’ll weed out those who don’t, and they need to decide if they want to be a part of it or not.”

When asked how much his team was missing injured veterans Jay DeMerit (ruptured Achilles) and Kenny Miller (hamstring), Rennie didn’t look for an excuse, calling on his green players to take their chances now and impose themselves more in matches.

“It’s time for our young players to step up,” Rennie said. “Half of our squad are young guys with little experience, but they need to learn pretty fast that it’s a cutthroat business. They need to step up and make their presence felt. They need to be leaders and they need to take over the game like Nigel does.

“We need that from more players and we need it now.”

The Whitecaps are back in action on Saturday as they host the two-time defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy at BC Place.