Major League Soccer

Vancouver Whitecaps "not worried" about qualifying for MLS playoffs

Lizzy Becherano
Vancouver Whitecaps players confident they can turn the season around
Vancouver Whitecaps players confident they can turn the season around / Rich Lam/GettyImages

Vancouver Whitecaps players are confident the Canadian side can still end their three-year playoff drought, despite standing in eight place on the Western Conference table. 

The Whitecaps had an opportunity to break into the top seven over the weekend, but failed to succeed against conference leaders Seattle Sounders.

Despite the 4-1 loss, Florian Jungwirth and Jake Nerwinski maintain that the team can change their fate with six regular-season games remaining. 

“I'm not worried about that,” defender Florian Jungwirth said. “I think when we came in the locker room obviously everyone was angry and disappointed.

"But right away we talked to each other and the focus is already there. Sunday we want to do it better, we play at home. We have a fortress at home and obviously we want to extend the series at home, so I don't think it will be a problem like mental wise to be prepared for Sunday.”

The Whitecaps return home to BC Place for Sunday’s match against Sporting Kansas City, where the Canadian side hold a record of five victories and one loss this season. 

“The last six games of the season are not easy,” defender Jake Nerwinski said. “But we know we're a good team, and we know that we're really difficult to play at home, so now we get to get some rest, get back home.

"And it's always hard for teams to play in BC Place, and I think we've proven that this year, our record shows it. So I think we still have all that confidence that we can get the three points.”

The race for top seven is tight, with the Whitecaps just two points behind LA Galaxy in sixth. Interim head coach Vanni Sartini, who took over for Marc Dos Santos on August 29, assured his players that they can still turn it around with the right focus and determination. 

“We need to step up. We know next game is hard, maybe even harder than today against a great team like Kansas City,” he said. “Then we have Portland, we have San Jose again. So we need to step up and try to do better, of course. I think today, defensively we didn't do very well like we did in the previous games.

"I think that we create a lot of chances, that's a good thing for the future. And we need to build on from this performance and try to be better against Kansas City. And of course, we'll rewatch the game, we'll rethink about it. From Tuesday we’ll go 100 percent on preparing the next game.”