VANCOUVER - Not good enough!
Doneil Henry didn’t mince his words after the Vancouver Whitecaps fell 3-0 to Sporting Kansas City Saturday night for their third consecutive Major League Soccer loss.
“Today wasn’t good enough,” said the Whitecaps centre back. “It hasn’t been good enough for a while.
“What we need to do is really bring it every single day. It has to come now. I’m tired of talking at this point. We need to bring it on the pitch when it matters.”
There were boos from the crowd of 18,700 at BC Place Stadium as the game wound down. Many fans began heading for the exits with over 10 minutes remaining.
Trailing 1-0 early in the second half the Whitecaps showed flashes of confidence with some aggressive play, but that quickly faded away when Sporting FC made it 2-0 in the 56th minute.
“At this stage right now, we are a little bit fragile,” said head coach Marc Dos Santos. “We’re in a position now that every time the opponent scores it looks heavy.
“We need to have a different type of mental toughness and react in a better way.”
Dos Santos said the Whitecaps dug themselves into a first half hole and couldn’t recover.
“I have to apologize to the fans for the first half,” he said. “It was very sloppy, a lack of intensity, a lack of willingness mentally.”
Gerso Fernandes played a role in all three Sporting Kansas City goals.
Fernandes, who goes by the lone name Gerso, scored in the 91st minute and set up an own goal that went off the foot of Whitecaps' defender Ali Adnan in the first half. He also assisted on forward Felipe Gutierrez's goal that made it 2-0.
“As an offensive player I try to do the best that I can with the chances that I get,” said Gerso.
Sporting Kansas City (6-7-7) is now ninth in the MLS Western Conference with 25 points. They are just four points back of FC Dallas for the final playoff spot.
The victory was also just the second road win of the season. They are (2-4-4) away from home.
“We know where we want to be and to be there, we have to play every game to win, so it doesn’t matter if we’re playing at home or away,” said Gerso. “You’ve got to start the game, pass and try to score as soon as we can.”
The Whitecaps (4-9-8) are tied for last place in the Western Conference with Colorado with 20 points. Vancouver has just one win in their last 10 MLS games (1-4-5) and have been outscored 10-1 in their last three losses. Their last victory was May 25, a 2-1 home win against Dallas.
Forward Theo Bair, a 19-year-old Ottawa native who spent three years playing for the Whitecaps' development academy, made his first MLS start for Vancouver. He had a good scoring chance in the 50th minute but his shot went wide. A frustrated Bair put his hands on his head and looked skyward.
“I think it was unfortunate not to get the W,” said Bair. “We have a good group of players, a good team.
“I think as long as we believe in each other, the season will go well from here.”
The game's first goal came in the 24th minute. Gerso corralled a loose ball, made a nice move around midfielder Andy Rose, then took a shot that hit Adnan's foot and rolled into the open net.
Gerso helped set up Gutierrez's goal, taking advantage of a mistake by Whitecaps' goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
MacMath tried to move a ball forward, but Gerso knocked his kick down then fed it to Gutierrez, who scored on a low-hard shot.
Gerso's goal late in the game came off a shot that went through a maze of players.
NOTES: Former Whitecap Alphonso Davies, who spent this season playing for Bayern Munich, attended the game and received a loud cheer from the crowd when shown on the big screen …. Forward Fredy Montero, who leads Vancouver with six goals, missed the game due to a red card picked up in last week's 6-1 loss to Los Angeles Football Club. … If the Whitecaps qualify for the next round of the Canadian Championships, they will play 15 games through July and August. … The Whitecaps leave early Monday morning for a game Wednesday against New England.