Whitecaps: No chance for mental disappointment in San Jose after dramatic midweek win

“We want, we want to defeat them and we can eliminate them. And that’s good (for our) chances if a team is out. And tomorrow we can take a big step. “- Central defender Flo Jungwirth

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Around this time last year, in the latter stages of the 2020 season, the Vancouver Whitecaps were in a playoff spot, poised to break their postseason drought, when Major League Soccer decided to change the qualifying requirements.


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Out the window were the total points; points per game came in, dropping the Caps in the Western Conference standings with two games to play. And it was the San Jose Earthquakes who dropped the last shovel of dirt in Vancouver three days later, their 3-2 win putting the Caps’ playoff hopes in a coffin.

The Whitecaps (11-10-9, West 7th) can return the favor Saturday when they visit PayPal Park to face the Earthquakes (9-12-9, 10th West), who are clinging to their own postseason hopes. A loss to Vancouver would almost seal the fate of San José .



Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes

7 pm, PayPal Park. TSN1. Radio: CKNW 980 AM

But it is their own destiny that the Whitecaps have set for themselves. They are in a playoff spot and they intend to stay there.


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“It doesn’t matter who we play with. We are focused on ourselves. We have four finals, ”central defender Flo Jungwirth said of the remaining schedule on Friday.

“We were rewarded for having these four games because we worked hard over the last few months. … We have come back from the bottom and now we have the position in the playoffs. Now we will defend it with everything we have.

“We want, we want to defeat them and we can eliminate them. And that’s good (for our) chances if a team is out. And tomorrow we can take a big step. “

The Quakes defeated Austin FC 4-0 in their midweek game to stay afloat, but the Caps showed their mental mettle with Wednesday’s cardiac comeback 2-0 against the Portland Timbers. The 3-2 victory put them in a playoff spot for more than 24 hours for the first time since the 2020 ppg fiasco.


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Acting coach Vanni Sartini took it easy Thursday to allow the team to recover from the emotional damage their win over the Timbers brought them.

“It was a day that I would say was emotionally very low and calm, and now (we are) trying to regain momentum and pressure to be 100 percent tomorrow,” Sartini said Friday.

“It can be emotionally draining and it is, but the other team is in the same situation. They’re in a kind of last-chance game after a big win, so they have to handle the same kind of excitement. “

Caps have shown they even have the keel to navigate the stormy seas of the MLS home stretch. Their best game of the season, a 3-0 dominance over the Quakes at home, was followed by a tough outing in a 4-1 loss to Seattle. But they rallied to eliminate Sporting Kansas City and Portland, two of the best teams in the conference.


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“Every game is difficult and every game can go in any direction. To be honest, that’s who will show up the night of, during the 90 minutes. That’s the real question, ”said goalkeeper Max Crepeau. “We have had 30 games in one season, four more remain. Everyone has concerns, each team has some shots, each team has a player who is not 100 percent, but who is going to be 100 percent focused for 90 minutes and mentally on the task. This is where we will get the results.

“There is no margin for error … it is a crucial time at this time of year.”

After Saturday, the Whitecaps return home to BC Place to face Minnesota United on Wednesday, before heading to Los Angeles to face LAFC the following Tuesday. He then returns to the top on Sunday, November 7, for Decision Day in MLS.


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Real Salt Lake, one point behind Vancouver in eighth place, is in Chicago to face the Fire – the East team in 12th place has already been eliminated from the playoffs – while LAFC (11-12-7, 9th West) visits the Loons (12-10-8, 6th West), who are just one point ahead of the Caps. Depending on the results, the Caps could finish the weekend in fifth place in the West.

Vancouver’s chances of making the playoffs are pegged at 69 percent , coming off the strength of his remaining schedule and his closest opponents. RSL has a 1/4 chance of finishing above the red line, while LAFC has 1/5.

“If we relaxed, we wouldn’t make the playoffs,” Jungwirth said. “(Our) last two games were crazy, all the teams in front of us, they win. So everyone is doing their homework. It doesn’t matter if someone plays in Seattle or Kansas or wherever… it doesn’t matter. (These) latest games, it’s about who wants more.

“We will make it, as I said weeks ago, but if we let ourselves go a bit, we will be punished. But I am not afraid or worried that we will let go. Obviously we have momentum, we are coming off a great streak of many games.

“I don’t know how this group could be overconfident in any way. We are so focused for weeks, and we aim to get over the line, and on Wednesday we finally made it. Now we are more determined to defend it ”.

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