Vancouver Whitecaps have parted ways with head coach Marc dos Santos after a string of bad results and an eight-game winless streak from May through early July.
Director of methodology Vanni Sartini will serve as acting head coach for now, while assistant coach Ricardo Clark and goalkeeper coach Youssef Dahha remain on first-team staff. The announcement came following the team’s 4-3 defeat against Pacific FC in the preliminary round of the Canadian Championship.
Alex Schuster, chief executive officer and sporting director at Vancouver, cited a lack of results and motivation as reasons for the departure of Santos: "This project needs another push, that this project needs some new life," he said.
The administration will not look to hire another head coach right away.
Vancouver currently sits in eighth place on the Western Conference table with 26 points in 21 matches. Though the Canadian side are one spot shy of a playoff position, Schuster believes the team’s positive results are 'fake'.
“The results maybe at some point even have been a little bit fake for us and we were passing on a few fundamentals you have to do in the game, and I think Saturday was the last drop that came to add to the conviction that this is necessary. To bring up one stat, Pacific FC had eight shots on target Saturday, which is the highest number this team had in the entire 2021 season.
"It's something we see in a lot of games for us and we have some of those games we have survived because of an amazing job our goalkeepers have done and some of those games we have survived because our last defense line has defended with a lot of passion and willpower and effort. But this is not continuing all the time, you cannot rely on that.”
Marc dos Santos first joined the Whitecaps following the 2018 Major League Soccer season, joining from NASL team the San Francisco Deltas.
Prior to the MLS All-Star match, Vancouver defeated LAFC 2-1 with a last-minute goal by new designated player Ryan Gauld. Schuster cited the match as a great positive, but warned against believing it would happen again in the same circumstances.
“In reality we had a great experience, a great Saturday last week and with a great result, but I'm convinced if we played that game ten times, we lose it eight times. It's also maybe a little bit of a fake impression that we're on a good way.
"Although result-wise we are on a good way, I also don't want to wait until the results have copied what we see on the pitch or saw on the pitch in several games.”
After explaining in detail the reasons for Dos Santos’ dismissal from the club, Schuster maintained that playoffs are still in sight for the Canadian team. Newly-appointed head coach Vanni Sartini will strive to earn a spot as they rely on Gauld and Lucas Cavallini for goals.