Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tightening Up the Defence, Scoring Goals on Vancouver Whitecaps' To-Do List: Whitecaps Look to Tighten Up against Dallas

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tightening Up the Defence, Scoring Goals on Vancouver Whitecaps' To-Do List: Whitecaps Look to Tighten Up against Dallas

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Whitecaps will need to tighten up their defence -- but only a little -- in order to snap out of their two-game losing skid.

After starting the year a Major League Soccer-record four games without allowing a goal they've allowed six in two games, but the team isn't panicking or making rash decisions.

"In those last couple games we've been a little bit unfortunate," said head coach Martin Rennie after practice Friday. "Any little mistake we have made has been punished. Almost anything the opposition has touched has gone in. That doesn't happen all the time. I think we have been defending well all season but we need to prove that again."

Vancouver is coming off consecutive 3-1 losses, including Wednesday at home versus unbeaten Sporting Kansas City, heading into Saturday's game at B.C. Place against FC Dallas.

To do that, defender Jay DeMerit said the Whitecaps just need to clean up a few problem areas but not making any major adjustments.

"It's just cleaning up the sloppy areas we've had the last couple games," said DeMerit. "We've given up too many goals. It hasn't been big issues. It's just small errors that are leading to big goals for them. You look at the amount of chances that Kansas City had and there wasn't more than the goals that they scored. It's about managing to stay consistent over the 90 minutes and cleaning up the tiny errors."

Vancouver has just five goals for this season, second fewest in the Western Conference. Though Rennie was happy with the offence against Kansas City, the goals will need to come eventually.

"In the last couple games we've created quite a few chances," said Rennie. "Obviously you don't want to be doing it when you're chasing the game. You want to do it from a position of strength."

Partly to blame for the offence's poor showing is forward Eric Hassli, who hasn't scored this season, though his coach was quick to defend the French striker.

"There's been a little more made of that than probably is fair," said Rennie. "He's only five games into the season because he missed a game, four of the goals we've scored this season he's directly assisted on or been a key part in setting up. …

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