Sports 'We just have to deal with it': Whitecaps' path to playoffs gets a little rockier

07:25  31 october  2020
07:25  31 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

Surging Vancouver Whitecaps not taking slumping L.A. Galaxy lightly: Bush

  Surging Vancouver Whitecaps not taking slumping L.A. Galaxy lightly: Bush VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps aren't taking anything for granted as they prepare to face a team in the midst of a slump this weekend. The Whitecaps head to California on Sunday to face the L.A. Galaxy, who dropped their sixth decision in a row with a loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday. L.A. may be going through a rough spell, but the Galaxy still possess big talents, including midfielder Sebastian Lletget, who has six goals this year, striker Cristian Pavon, who has added another six. “To take this game lightly would be a huge mistake for us and we’re in no position to be doing that," Vancouver 'keeper Evan Bush said on a video call Friday.

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VANCOUVER — Facing an uphill battle for the playoffs, Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos vows his squad won't go down without a fight.

Marc Dos Santos wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Canadian Press

It's been a season full of adversity for the 'Caps (8-13-0) and the club was dealt another blow this week when Major League Soccer announced that post-season berths will be determined by points per game instead of straight points.

The move looks to address the unbalanced schedule caused by COVID-19 outbreaks that forced the cancellation of several games.

It also leaves the Whitecaps below the playoff bar with two games left on the regular-season schedule.

Phoenix Rising FC relinquishes hosting rights for 2020 USL Championship Final after earning home-field in part due to forfeit

  Phoenix Rising FC relinquishes hosting rights for 2020 USL Championship Final after earning home-field in part due to forfeit Phoenix Rising relinquished claim to home-field advantage for the 2020 USL Championship Final out of respect to the LGBTQ community.Having tied Louisville City FC in total points and victories thanks to a forfeit by San Diego Loyal, Phoenix Rising had earned hosting priority based on a third tiebreaker: goal differential. But because that forfeit was the result of San Diego's protest of an alleged homophobic slur by Phoenix forward Junior Flemmings, Rising management recognized what might have been a glaring optics issue.

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“Nothing’s fair this year. We just have to deal with it," coach Marc Dos Santos said of the decision.

“Everything is so unrealistic and unclear. What am I going to say about points per game? We’re going to give our best.”

Vancouver heads into the weekend with the eighth-most points in the Western Conference. The top eight teams will make the playoffs.

But when post-season berths are determined by points per game, the Colorado Rapids (1.27) leap ahead of the 'Caps (1.14) with two games to go. The Rapids missed five games after several players and staff tested positive for COVID-19.

Other teams are also still fighting for their playoff lives in the congested West, including FC Dallas (1.47), the San Jose Earthquakes (1.29) and Real Salt Lake (1.1).

The Whitecaps have two decisions, Dos Santos said cry about a "very unbalanced" year or go and fight for every game.

'We've got to make it worth something': Whitecaps in must-win mode to finish season

  'We've got to make it worth something': Whitecaps in must-win mode to finish season VANCOUVER — Lucas Cavallini was filled with joy when he entered his home in Vancouver earlier this week and finally saw his wife and three kids in person. His job as the Whitecaps' top striker had kept him away for several weeks, and though the reunion with his family was brief, it was special. “When I walk through that door, it’s like lifting up the trophy, you know what I mean?” Cavallini said on a video call. “But I want that same feeling here with the club.” With just four games left on the Major League Soccer regular-season schedule, the 'Caps (7-12-0) are focused on making sure their difficult year ends on a positive note.

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And his team isn't about to give up, no matter the circumstances.

"The mentality of the guys, it’s still one of belief. At the end of the day, the teams that still have games have to win their games. And we have to try to push and try to be in," Dos Santos said.

“Look, if we don’t make it on the last day, at least we’re still going to be standing as a team that fought all the way despite everything. And that’s what we want to do.”

Vancouver's next chance to collect crucial points will come Sunday when they meet the Portland Timbers (10-5-5).

The Timbers are unbeaten in their last three outings after a tidy 5-2 win over the L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday.

When Portland and Vancouver last met on Sept. 27, the Timbers took a 1-0 victory thanks to an early goal by Felipe Mora.

The Whitecaps played well defensively but didn't finish their chances in the game, Dos Santos said.

“Now what we have to do is keep the same mentality, same mindset, same organization but try to convert our opportunities into goals," he said.

Sounders clinch playoff spot with 2-0 win over Vancouver

  Sounders clinch playoff spot with 2-0 win over Vancouver PORTLAND, Ore. — Raul Ruidiaz had a goal and an assist in his first game back after testing positive for coronavirus while on international duty, and the Seattle Sounders clinched a spot in the playoffs with a 2-0 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday night. The defending MLS Cup champion Sounders (10-4-5) secured their 12th straight trip to the post-season. The win also pushed Seattle to the top of the Western Conference standings. “Even in the USL days and NASL days this club has always been a winning club. It's something that is within the DNA, the culture of our club,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said.

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The players know exactly what's at stake heading into Sunday's matchup, said 'Caps striker Tosaint Ricketts.

“Everything’s on the line. Two games left. We know the situation with the standings … and we know what we need to achieve in these last two games to make the playoffs," Ricketts said.

There have been plenty of bumps in the road for the Whitecaps this season, from border restrictions that forced the group to relocate to Portland, to a unwieldy, condensed schedule, and from injuries that sidelined two starting goalies for the season to front-office business that saw the departure of key offensive pieces.

“There’s been plenty of obstacles we’ve had to deal with throughout this year. But it’s really shaped our character, it’s really shaped our mentality," Ricketts said.

"We’re going into Sunday with no excuses. … We feel it’s still in our hands and we’re going to make sure we do our part.”


Sunday, Providence Park

GOAL SETTING: The Timbers sit at the top of the Western Conference standings in goals for (44). Meanwhile, the Whitecaps have struggled with offence at times this season and have the fewest goals for (24) in the West.

HELPING OUT: Portland's Yimmi Chara tallied four assists Wednesday, becoming the sixth player in MLS history to achieve the feat.

HISTORY BOOKS: The rivalry between the 'Caps and Timbers goes all the way back to 1975 when the clubs played in the North American Soccer League. Since then, Portland and Vancouver have played 95 times across all competitions. The Whitecaps hold the edge with a 40-37-18 record.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Esports showdown in competition to become Vancouver Whitecaps pro gamer .
A 2021 contract as the Vancouver Whitecaps' official esports gamer is on the line Friday when Alex (Exraa) Gonzalez takes on Erfan (Skill Shack) Hosseini. Both are familiar with the job. Gonzalez is the Whitecaps incumbent while Hosseini had the job before him. Hosseini got his shot at winning the post back via a qualifying tournament to find a challenger for Gonzalez in "The ONe Final presented by Alpha Esports." Hosseini won all six matches en route to the final, the last man standing from some 50 contenders. "It was a bit sweaty, a bit tough to get through," said the 20-year-old SFU student from Burnaby, B.C. "I played some good opponents.

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