Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Whitecaps Head to Kansas City Looking to End Two-Game Losing Skid

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Whitecaps Head to Kansas City Looking to End Two-Game Losing Skid

Article excerpt

Whitecaps look to end two-game skid

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VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Whitecaps will shuffle the deck in hopes of dealing themselves a winning hand for their game against Sporting Kansas City Friday.

Head coach Carl Robinson took the blame for his team's lethargic performance in a 2-0 Major League Soccer loss last week at home against Los Angeles Football Club. When star striker Kei Kamara suffered an injury in the final minutes of training the day before the game, Robinson was forced to make some lineup changes, including starting Erik Hurtado in Kamara's place.

"Obviously in 24 hours you have to change your game plan, which we did," Robinson said after a practice this week. "It affected the group a little more than I wanted it too.

"Because they (LAFC) played three centrebacks they were able to squash us a little bit and force us backwards. We were unable to get up the field with our wide players. It will be different this week."

The Whitecaps (3-3-1) hope to have striker Anthony Blondell in the lineup when they face Sporting Kansas City (4-1-2) at Children's Mercy Park. Blondell missed last week's game recovering from a concussion suffered in an April 7 loss against Real Salt Lake.

Blondell doesn't have the proven pedigree of the 33-year-old Kamara, but he does have potential. The 23-year-old led the Venezuelan Primera Division with 24 goals last year and had six assists in 39 appearances. Eight of his goals were game winners.

Blondell has played about 102 minutes for the Whitecaps in five games this season and managed one shot on goal.

"He's an exciting young player," said Robinson. "He is very raw. He scored a lot of goals in Venezuela. He's a very energetic.

"Now he's got the opportunity, if he plays, to have a run of games. It's important we put players around him that will help him be successful as well."

With Karama sidelined for at least the next three games with a groin injury, Whitecap players like defender Jake Nerwinski are excited to see Blondell perform.

"He's going to come in, he's going to try to do that same role, be the same guy Kei has been for us," said Nerwinski. …

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