Whitecaps open BC Place against Portland
Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC interim coach Tom Soehn was not happy with the way his team closed out Empire Field, and he is hoping to open up BC Place in a much more positive fashion on Sunday against the Portland Timbers.
Sunday's match marks the first game for Vancouver at its new ground, but Soehn was still disappointed with his side's 3-1 defeat to Seattle last weekend which not only clinched the Cascadia Cup for the Sounders, but closed out Empire Field in less than impressive fashion.
"We're very disappointed," Soehn told MLSsoccer.com following Saturday's match. "I said before this game, this was more than just a game.
"There was so much more at stake with the rivalry we have with Seattle, but as far as our fans watching today, they were fantastic, seeing us off at Empire Field - we wanted to send them something to take home, but we let it slip today."
The Whitecaps took an early 1-0 lead in the match before yielding three unanswered goals the rest of the way, leaving the home side with just one win in its last six games.
Vancouver put together a respectable 4-4-5 mark at Empire Field, and Sunday's game will give the club a chance to continue a decent run of form at home, despite the fact that the 'Caps are rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference table.
Portland is still in the hunt for a playoff berth but the club must improve upon its poor form away from home to take a step up to the next level.
Coach John Spencer's team has put together a 1-9-4 record away from home this season, but the coach attributes his team's struggles to youth.
"We do the exact same game preparation every single game and try to win the game," Spencer said. "I just think it comes down to maturity. Traveling to different places - these young guys haven't done it before."
"[Young players] are not used to the travel in this country, the time changes. It's a difficult league to come into and make an impact right away, as we've seen with some world-class players who have come into the league. They haven't started that great. It's taken them a little bit of a time to become accustomed to the league itself."
Poor form away from home does not bode well for Portland, which finishes the season with three of its final four games away from Jeld-Wen Field.