The Vancouver Whitecaps are among five Western Conference teams fighting for a spot in the 2021 MLS playoffs, standing just one point away from the top seven. With only five regular-season games remaining, anything can happen.
The Canadian side kicked off the race with an unexpected 2-1 win over second placed side Sporting Kansas City at BC Place, inching closer to a postseason position.
Interim head coach Vanni Sartini did not take the victory lightly and says his side will need to use it as a stepping stone for the upcoming games.
“We're still in the fight, and we're going to fight ‘til the end,” he said. "And, you know, yesterday everyone won, but it's not going to happen every time that everyone's going to win, our competitors. So we need to win and make more points and to be, I would say, at peace on November 7. If we play like this and if we keep working like this, the chances to celebrate November 7 are higher than the chance that could be missed.”
Vancouver join Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy, Minnesota United and LAFC in the final push for a postseason position. All five teams picked up three points over MLS week 30, a matter that midfielder Ryan Gauld insists should not be the focus.
“I think it's natural that you kind of keep an eye on everyone around you, but I think the most important thing is that we take care of our own business,” he said.
“There’s no point looking at the other teams and what they're doing if we're if we're not winning our games. So that's the most we can do just now, focus on each game as it comes and hopefully it’ll put us in a good position come the end.”
The Whitecaps will host their next two Major League Soccer matches at BC Place, an important factor given their away record stands at 1-5-8. Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert thinks the location may make all the difference.
“I think we have to take care of business in our home games, and we pride ourselves in playing in front of our fans, because everybody knows what we've been through this year and the year before,” Teibert added.
“We hear them, they’re loud, and it's nice, you know, to sing ‘Stand By Me’ with them after the games. It was Tosaint Ricketts' idea and it's an outstanding idea and it's a really cool moment between all the players and the fans and the whole organisation.”