ISN – VANCOUVER, BC – Momentum can do a great deal for the minds of players. Every team wants to hit the postseason in some modicum of form – and right now Vancouver Whitecaps FC are the in-form team in Major League Soccer.
The ‘Caps are the only team in the league currently riding the wave of a three-game winning streak, with all of those victories coming against teams above them in the standings.
It’s a tremendous turnaround for a team that just three weeks ago were undergoing a lot of soul-searching following a 3-0 thumping at home by their Cascadian – and at the moment, playoff – rivals the Portland Timbers.
So just what is behind this newfound intensity in Vancouver?
Something’s happened in the last three or four weeks,” veteran centre back Andy O’Brien told reporters. “I don’t know whether it’s given the time of the season and how important it is, but the penny’s dropped and it’s important for the last two games of the season that we give a good account of ourselves.”
“I must admit, when you talk about intensity I did feel a great sense of pressure building some weeks ago. And I was worried in case if we did get into the playoffs it was a big case of ‘We’ve done that’ when really it’s got to be a steady progression. We’re really tightening up but it feels relaxed and it doesn’t feel as if the pressure is too big. If anything, we’re anticipating and looking forward to the games.”
For goalkeeper David Ousted, it was all about working on “the little things” and he feels the squad has responded well.
“A little bit more belief in things, a little bit of harder work in the games and a little bit of luck on our side,” Ousted told reporters as to what he feels is behind the change in fortunes. “We’re on a good run right now and we go into every game believing we can win. We’ve been showing that the last couple of weeks.”
We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago about how we should react to all of this, all the pressure, the whole playoff thing, and guys have reacted fantastically. They’ve gone in with confidence and tried to win the games.”
It’s certainly a bullish locker room in Vancouver at the moment, but it’s also one with a lot of team spirit and an openness to discuss the problems at hand.
“It’s just togetherness,” said winger/striker Kekuta Manneh, who scored the winning goal in Friday’s 1-0 road upset of Seattle Sounders FC. “The belief we have in the locker room, the encouragement and everybody’s believing in each other. You just got to enjoy the moment and have belief in the locker room.”
“We have meetings all the time about how we’re going to change stuff. We put out stuff that we’re going to work on and then everybody takes it on board and I think that’s paying off for us as well.”