Despite missing five national team players and going down by two goals early, the Vancouver Whitecaps came back to earn one point in a 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids Saturday. There will be no respite as the Whitecaps travel to Texas to face FC Dallas Wednesday evening on short rest.
The Whitecaps beat FC Dallas, 2-1, at BC Place. May 25. In 37 games overall, Vancouver has a positive record against Dallas (16-13-8), but down in Texas have won just six out of 18 games (10L, 2D).
“[We want to manage this] a little bit like when we went to — what I think was a similar trip not in distance, but the level of opponent — Kansas City and New York,” Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos said. “Now it is Dallas and Seattle, and we have to approach it the very same way but with some pieces missing right now.”
Canada advanced to the Gold Cup quarterfinals and will face Haiti on Saturday. That means that the Whitecaps will be without national team players Doneil Henry, Derek Cornelius, Russell Teibert and Maxime Crépeau for this upcoming road trip and possibly longer.
“For the Dallas game, I don’t expect much rotation,” Dos Santos said. “We had a good amount of recovery time until Wednesday. The tough one will be Wednesday to Saturday. But we will talk about that after the Dallas game.”
Not that Vancouver has many options to rotate anyhow. The bench against Colorado on Saturday was somewhat thin and in Theo Bair, Michael Baldisimo and 2019 MLS SuperDraft pick Brendan McDonough included three prospects unlikely to receive playing time.
The lack of depth also meant that midfielder Andy Rose was forced to help out at the back. With Rose in defense, the Caps struggled the first 25 minutes against Colorado and quickly found themselves two goals down.
“It wasn’t quite the result we were hoping for the other day,” Rose said. Nonetheless, the midfielder felt he grew into the role.
“I really enjoyed it,” Rose said. “Obviously, it was new to me, and I had a bit of a learning curve, but I always try to get better and add little things to my game.”
“Playing in a back four, rather than a back three was a learning curve, and I came out a better player. I just want to be on the pitch help the team and if I can do that in the back, great,” Rose added.
It is a learning curve that the Whitecaps cannot afford to have against Dallas.
“We can’t start as we started against Colorado this Saturday,” Dos Santos said. “We have to make people more accountable in the first 25 minutes.”
Dos Santos was positive about heading to Dallas.
“Of the last 12 games we only lost two,” Dos Santos said.
At the same time, the Whitecaps have the second most draws this season. The general feeling in Vancouver is that the team is getting closer in achieving results, but still misses a little something in the rebuild.
“We only miss a piece or two,” Dos Santos said.
That piece or two could be added in the upcoming summer transfer window. That window, however, does not open until after this road trip, which means that the Whitecaps will have to get the job done with the current crop of players.