The Vancouver Whitecaps were back at work Monday morning at UBC in advance of a Wednesday night clash with undefeated LAFC at BC Place.
While there was some obvious frustration with another VAR call which went against the Caps on Friday night in the Windy City, the mood was generally positive at training, with an energetic and competitive session.
Doneil Henry, the perpetrator of the alleged handball, explained his frustration with the VAR decision in his post-training interview. “It’s difficult to know how to defend anymore” said Henry, who also added that he felt VAR at times really disrupts the “flow” and “feel” that officials have for the match. While Marc dos Santos only briefly commented on the incident, he did note that he had yet to see a better angle which clearly showed a handball on the play, and that to the best of his knowledge, it struck Henry where the arm meets the shoulder.
Maxime Crepeau, who’s faced four PK’s already this season, commented that the squad must keep their heads up in spite of the tough penalty decision, adding that he feels the squad in front of him has been improving with each match, especially defensively.
Right back Scott Sutter, who started in place of Jake Nerwinski on Friday night, gave some interesting insight on the club’s offensive mentality, saying that “We’re not going to be Leicester City - we want to play attacking, attractive football.”
Marc dos Santos echoed this sentiment, noting that his squad can’t be afraid to play the ball out of the back, even if this leads to some mistakes. Particularly, dos Santos thought that the Caps were poor controlling play after winning possession in Chicago, citing the first pass and off-ball movement as areas for improvement.
The biggest takeaway from MDS’ post training presser this morning: The team did a good job defensively in Chicago, but struggled with movement and making the first pass after gaining possession #VWFC— Samuel Rowan (@samuel_rowboat) April 15, 2019
As stated on TSN 1040 earlier in the morning, dos Santos thought that the performance Friday was “the worst of the six” so far this season, despite almost coming away with three points.
Dos Santos: We were about to win a game, and it was probably our worst football game. A game I didn't recognize us, that wasn't good enough technically and we lost possession. But that's a game in which we can grow. @WhitecapsFC— TSN Radio Vancouver (@TSN1040) April 15, 2019
Turning to Wednesday’s match with LAFC, dos Santos added that he’s seen flashes of “impact performances” from the likes of Bangoura, Venuto and Reyna, but that he needs to see more consistency from them, and the squad in general, in order for the club to have success. Dos Santos gave this answer in response to the question of who on the Whitecaps could be an impact performer (like Ibrahimovic and Rooney they’ve seen over the past few weeks).
Lastly, and rather comedically, dos Santos reflected on his time with LAFC last season. MDS noted that a former club is “not like a wife” and that he’s been at enough clubs over the years that he doesn’t become overly sentimental or attached to those he’s left behind. At the same time, dos Santos remarked that LAFC is a club which has done “everything right” since expansion within all levels of the club, and that he’s trying to take some of the insights from his time in LA and apply them to growing the Whitecaps organization.
In addition to post-training comments, it’s worth noting that both Theo Bair and Brendan McDonough had strong training sessions and that injured players Andy Rose and Michael Baldisimo worked together on individual drills as they progress towards being fully fit.
Finally, Nick Dasovic (U-23 Development Squad HC) pointed to Simon Colyn and Patrick Metcalfe as standout performers from the developmental ranks.
Stay tuned for more reports from the training ground in the coming weeks and months as we endeavour to make this a regular column. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them in the comments section.