BY MIKE DONOVAN
Head coach Martin Rennie did not mince words after training Tuesday about how he felt about the club’s 3-1 loss Saturday to FC Dallas.
“The Dallas game was one of the worst performances I’ve seen from any team I’ve ever coached,” Rennie told the Province newspaper. “It was like, giveaway, giveaway, giveaway, giveaway, giveaway. Constantly. We went through the video of it yesterday, and I think even the players were shocked with how bad it was, so they have to turn that around.”
The Whitecaps are 1-5-2 in their last eight matches and now find themselves tied for seventh place in the Western Conference standings. And the schedule doesn’t do them any favors with four road matches in their final seven games.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference:
After collecting his third shutout of the season over the weekend, Dan Kennedy told the club’s web site that he is hopeful for the future. And while the 31-year-old goalkeeper knows that Chivas USA will miss the postseason for another season, he believe the club could be heading in the right direction.
“We are in a point in this season where we are trying to improve and trying to play spoiler and win games. Hopefully what we can do is improve as much as a team, and individuals to build up a core of guys for next season,” Kennedy said.
For the second time this season, the Colorado Rapids have partnered with a youth club from outside the state. After aligning themselves with a North Carolina club in April, the Rapids have now partnered with the Albuquerque-based Rio Soccer Club to form the Rio Rapids SC. The agreement means youth players will be considered Rapids development players and could potentially be signed as homegrown players by Colorado.
“The MLS footprint is growing,” Ken Levandoski, who is a board member of the Rio Rapids, told the Albuquerque Journal. “The Rapids recognize the talent in Albuquerque, so this can benefit their organization. From our perspective, it provides a pipeline to pro soccer, gives kids a team to cheer for and a chance to dream about possibly playing at that level someday.”
As part of the agreement, the Rapids will continue to play an annual July friendly in Albuquerque.
Despite depth issues at the forward spot due to suspensions, international absences, and fitness questions, homegrown player Jonathan Top has not seen the field for FC Dallas in more than a year. Head coach Schellas Hyndman believes that the 20-year-old forward will need to improve his finishing before he will see the field again.
To get opportunities for playing time he just has to get a little bit better on his conversions. If he gets four chances, he might make one. I think what we’re trying to do now is get him to shoot the ball a little bit better,” Hyndman told the Dallas Morning News.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
With Omar Gonzalez playing for the U.S., Kofi Opare got the nod at centerback for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids. It was the first MLS start for the rookie from the University of Michigan. While Bruce Arena said Opare played “very well,” Opare believe he can do better.
“[I] could have been better, a lot better, [there were] mistakes here and there,” said Opare to the club’s web site. “[There is] stuff I need to improve on, also my positioning and communication and obviously we didn’t get the win today. It would have been a lot better if we did.”
Despite dealing with an adductor injury, Diego Valeri made his presence felt off the bench in Saturday’s 4-0 over Toronto FC, delivering a goal and an assist in just 13 minutes of action. And while the Argentine DP played well in his limited action, it is unknown whether or not Valeri will be able to start this Saturday against Chivas USA.
“We’re really optimistic about where he’s at,” Porter told the Oregonian. “So, we want to be careful, but at the same time we need him because these points in these games coming up are very important.”
REAL SALT LAKE
Despite playing 18 matches and starting eight, midfielder Sebastian Velasquez is still searching for his first goal of the season. In fact, he is the only RSL midfielder to have played more than 100 minutes this season, who hasn’t yet scored.
“I think about it every day — morning, noon and night. Before I go to bed, I watch videos. I do everything I can and I’m just waiting for my goal to come,” Velasquez told the club’s web site. ”I came here from college where I was scoring every game, and now it has been a year-and-a-half since I scored. It’s driving me crazy. I feel like once I get my first goal, then I can probably get on a roll.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The Earthquakes U-16 Academy kicks off their season on Saturday against Crossfire Premiere in Redmond, Wash. and their head coach might seem familiar to MLS fans. Stephen Wondolowski, who is the brother of Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski, will be the head coach of an Earthquakes academy side for the fourth straight season.
The Sounders announced Wednesday that Xbox will continue to be the club’s kit sponsor through the 2014 season. Originally, the sponsorship was set too expire at the end of the season.
“We’re very happy,” general manager and part owner Adrian Hanuer told the Seattle Times. “It’s been a fantastic partnership. Excited to extend for a year and hopefully this leads to something even longer term, but we’ll let the business groups hash it out and figure out whether we can do something for the long haul.”