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Winless Vancouver Whitecaps host league leaders LAFC

Oct 21, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela (10) moves the ball during the first half against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

After six winless games in 2019, the Vancouver Whitecaps (0-4-2, 2 points) continue the quest for their first three points of the season Wednesday at 7 p.m. PST against visiting Los Angeles FC. 

This is the first time in Whitecaps history the club has started the season without a win in the first six games, and the worst start to a campaign since the club’s MLS inception in 2011. 

The task is not getting any easier, either. LAFC (6-0-1, 19 points) is undefeated this season and first in the Western Conference. 

“If we look at only the point in Chicago, it’s a positive point,” Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos said this week. “If you look at the performance, for me, the worst of the six. . . . We’re all aware of that in the locker room. Nobody is delusional. Our standards are not those ones.”

There is no glossing over the match against Chicago. Despite the point, is was a major setback. Dos Santos was signed by the Whitecaps from LAFC this summer, not just to rebuild the Caps but also rebrand their playing style. 

“LAFC was very special and important for me, but I said it, it’s an obsession for me to make Vancouver Whitecaps grow,” Dos Santos said to reporters Monday.

On Friday against the Chicago Fire, however, it was almost a step back in time to days of former head coach Carl Robinson. The Whitecaps were not just poor but also played an uninspiring brand of soccer

Nonetheless, Dos Santos believes he is on the right track with his adjustments. 

“I’ll give you one example,” he said. “We can’t be afraid of playing out of the back. This club is not going to be rebuilt in a way that we’re going to have a goal kick and play it long and wait for the second ball and pray from there. We won’t be about that.”

The Caps have always been open about the rebuild taking time — longer than just one winter transfer window. 

“I can guarantee you that we’re always evaluating how to better our roster. Of course, this is a sector where we feel we need to become better. Or by having things in our model that become better,” Dos Santos admitted.

It will be the current crop of players that will, however, face the red-hot Los Angeles Football Club on Wednesday. 

“At home, we’re capable of beating any one of these teams,” defender Doneil Henry said Monday.

Henry caused the penalty that allowed Chicago to score the equalizer Friday.

“I feel like we played some of our best football in the LA Galaxy game in the first half. We had a solid 40 minutes, 50 minutes in the Seattle game, and if you take our last three games, we didn’t have a complete performance yet where it has all come together from the back right to the front, but we see progress and start to move much better,” Henry concluded. 

A complete performance is just what Vancouver will need against LAFC on Wednesday in what has been a difficult start to the season.

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