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Three things to do better after losing to the Whitecaps

The best loss we’ve had this season is still a loss

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Vancouver Whitecaps Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never nice to lose but after the last few performances we’ve put in, this was the best we’ve looked in defeat for a while. We still created chances and our workrate was much higher. The goals we conceded were down to individual errors (even if I disagree on the individuals we’re saying made the errors) which should be expected by any young team.

But, we still lost...

Off the Ball

While we created more quality chances with Baird as the lead striker there was still a distinct lack of urgency in our off the ball movement. The Whitecaps are a quick team at times and their recovery from offence to defence was evident when you consider their defensive shape. Looking at the heatmap you can see the Vancouver defensive line plus the two defensive midfielders there is a very defined shape and line that the Whitecaps kept and they were drilled to keep. This is why I say it was a good performance, because that’s a strong line and yet we should really had two goals in the second half.

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Individual Errors

Young teams, more than anybody, will make errors. This week, we turned out one of the youngest defensive line ups in the history of the league and at times that showed. Besler made a mistake to give up the first goal and he will learn from that. I’d argue that the second goal is actually on Brooks Lennon, not Besler, who gave up far too easily on tracking his runner and instead looked for the ref to call a non-existent foul. Time is on our side and experience will cut these issues down to a minimum but it’s certainly something we need to be trying better to keep to a minimum already.

Finishing

Same old story here. We were better this time around but that ball needs to hit the back of the net more frequently. We deserved it this time around, hopefully in the next game we will see the team earn it.


The gods are smiling on us as we’re not doing great but we’ve played more games than all the teams below us, so we still look great on the standings right now!

Those games will catch up on us though. One thing I think that’s gone unacknowledged is we’ve got a really tough schedule at the front of this season and on young legs, it’s very tough. We’re down a number of players due to injury as well so that rotation isn’t happening to allow these guys a rest between the long journeys and the hard minutes. So we will slip down that table but I’m still banking on a late season surge much like we had last season. These games right now are the important ones to pick up points and of the teams below us, only Houston and Colorado have more PPG so far. So we’re still in the wide open right now. Not time to hit the panic button yet.