Home at last.
That’s what the Vancouver Whitecaps must be thinking after losing 1-0 for the second time on the hop, this time against the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Pavel Pardo’s 10th minute free kick stood up as the game winner, and after that Vancouver struggled to break a resolute Fire defense down, as Eric Hassli’s 87th minute header was the only play that really seemed to challenge Sean Johnson.
“I think we started the game a little bit slow, we had a little slip there, then they had a free kick, and it was executed very well by Chicago,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters following the match. “They started the game brightly, they started the game well but I felt like after maybe 20 minutes we started to come into the game and did well.
"I thought in the second half we were very strong, we were on top, we were pressing them back. It’s just disappointing to not get more from the game tonight.
The match concludes five in a row on the road – a spell during which the club lost three matches, only picking up a solitary victory against the Colorado Rapids on their travels.
“These last road trips were tough,” Jordan Harvey told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1040 following the match. “With that over, I think everybody is looking forward to the rest of the season. We’re positive about this and optimistic that we’re going to turn these last couple of losses around.”
New acquisition Dane Richards made his first appearance as a Whitecap, coming on as a halftime substitute for Alain Rochat, while Barry Robson continued to play a central – although misfiring – role in the heart of the Vancouver midfield.
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It won’t take long for the pair to settle in though, according to Rennie.
"Obviously those two players need to get to know the others and obviously being on the training ground always helps to establish that, but for Barry to have played 60 minutes, then 90 minutes three times in basically a preseason schedule for him is amazing," Rennie said. "He’s always wanting the ball and is always getting on it. He’s going to add an awful lot to the team, as will Dane.
“Just seeing him tonight, the pace that he possesses gives us much more natural width on that right hand side. I don’t really think there’s a lot of time needed for them to settle in and we’re not going to use it as an excuse.”