Vancouver head coach Teitur Thordarson knew that coaching a first-year team in MLS wouldn't be easy, and the Whitecaps' 2-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Monday at Arizona State University showed just how tough the coming season may be.
First-half goals from Chris Birchall and Juan Pablo Angel provided the difference for the defending Supporters’ Shield winners as Vancouver continued their second trip to Arizona this preseason.
FULL RECAP: LA Galaxy 2, Vancouver 0
Despite the loss, Thordarson remained focused on the positive aspects of his team’s performance, but he did recognize that there were some cracks in his squad’s normally stingy defence.
“The first half is what I want to take away from this because we were playing possibly the best team in the league, and they hardly created any goal chances on us,” Thordarson told MLSsoccer.com from Tempe, Ariz. “Their goals were from our mistakes.”
[inline_node:329208]The first goal was thought to be offside by most of the Whitecaps’ players, but Thordarson said that Michael Boxall may have dropped behind Jay DeMerit to break the line and keep Birchall onside.
The second goal, meanwhile, was off of a rebound. Jay Nolly did well to save a strong shot from Juninho, but Vancouver’s defenders were slow to react as Ángel pounced on the loose ball.
“There’s no doubt that goals change games,” said Thordarson. “Especially after the second goal I felt that we maybe didn’t mentally recover, so we possibly let ourselves down a little bit. I like playing these tough games because it gives a very clear statement on where we are and what we have to correct and do better.”
The team could certainly improve in the goal-scoring department, a growing concern as they approach their league debut.
“We should have scored some goals in the first half,” insisted Thordarson, despite a dearth of strikers. “We created some very good chances, but we finished poorly, so that is basically the picture of the game.”
The club is hoping that Swiss magician Davide Chiumiento (pictured at top) will be part of the solution, with Thordarson insinuating that his signing is imminent. The diminutive playmaker has started nearly every preseason match as a withdrawn striker, but on this day his impact was minimal.
Brazilian striker Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo is also being evaluated as an attacking option, but it’s not yet clear whether or not he can provide the scoring punch that the team dearly needs.
“This was the real test,” said Thordarson of Sanvezzo’s start against the Galaxy. “He was playing against the level we will be facing day-in and day-out in MLS. I felt that he did some very good things but I also felt that he physically struggled a little bit, maybe because he is not fit.”
The two teams will meet in a rematch on Tuesday at 1 pm ET back on the same field at ASU.