It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
After the rampant start to their inaugural MLS season last year, a 4-2 victory, Vancouver Whitecaps will be keen to temper enthusiasm after another opening day win. As captain Jay DeMerit said: “I think when you have the confidence to go out and win like this, just a good, solid performance where guys did their jobs…that’s the type of performance we can do every week.”
Whitecaps FC managed only five more wins in their inaugural MLS season, and, even to the most passionate supporter, things were underwhelming.
Martin Rennie, the club’s 36-year old Scottish head coach, had been aligning and adjusting his squad for an assault on Major League Soccer since late August when he was signed from the Carolina RailHawks. A success at every club he has managed, many will look to Rennie for inspiration but a measured approach is the ultimate goal.
Off-season transfers were invaluable
It took little over three minutes for Frenchman Sebastien Le Toux to score his first competitive goal for Vancouver. His tireless work-rate paid dividends as he latched onto an Eric Hassli header and knocked it past the on-rushing Donovan Ricketts – scoring the fastest goal in MLS opening day history. The 21,000 fans at BC Place were in raptures.
The build-up on the second goal was vintage “new Whitecaps”. Intricate passing from Sebastien Le Toux, Davide Chiumiento, Eric Hassli, and a tidy finish from, last season’s MVP, Camilo capped a clinical display against the MLS newcomers.
South Korean full-back, former World Cup star, Young-Pyo Lee was as maintained his impeccable level of performance since his arrival in the off-season. The Whitecaps had the third worst defensive record last season so Lee’s arrival has been greeted with applause from all quarters.
Man of the match was awarded to another winter signing, Jun Marques Davidson. Performing the ‘dirty work’ in midfield, the Japanese-American defensive midfielder was efficient and an ideal fit in the fluid, attacking Whitecaps FC style.
Hard-work begins in earnest
Against arch-rivals Montreal Impact, victory was the expectation. The Whitecaps now travel to Los Angeles to face Chivas USA desperate for their first MLS away win. In stark contrast to last season, hysteria has been replaced by focus. Martin Rennie said post-match: “It’s a great three points for us, but at the end of the day, that’s all it really is so far, three points.”
For now, though, the Whitecaps will want to build on the performance against Montreal, and continue to instill confidence for the season ahead.