SPORTS

Whitecaps looking to rebound against Fire after disappointing MLS opener

03/13/2015 01:57 EDT | Updated 05/13/2015 05:59 EDT
Jordan Harvey says the Vancouver Whitecaps are eager to put the disappointment of their season opener in the rearview mirror.

"We need a short memory on that one," the veteran defender said of that 3-1 home loss to Toronto FC. "It was a tough game, but we can't dwell on it.

"You obviously have to learn from the things that we did wrong, but if you dwell on them it doesn't really help anybody."

The Whitecaps head into Saturday's road game against the Chicago Fire knowing they let Toronto off the hook last weekend. Vancouver could have been up 3-0 after 20 minutes in what was a dominating start, but instead let the visitors hang around and sat tied 1-1 at the half.

"After the first 45 minutes I said to the guys I thought they were excellent," said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson. "We lost a game of football. It happens. It's going to happen again unfortunately."

Among the bright spots against Toronto was new striker Octavio Rivero scoring his first goal with Vancouver, while the negatives included the three goals allowed — including one on a late penalty — a lack of finish, and an inability to create much in the second half.

"It's one game and we move on," said Robinson. "We would have liked to win the game. Unfortunately we didn't. You don't turn into a good team overnight and you don't turn into a bad team overnight. We just need to find a rhythm and a groove.

"The sooner we do it, the better."

Vancouver will be looking to do just that against Chicago, which lost its opener on the road against the Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0.

The Fire missed the playoffs in their first season under former Canadian national team head coach Frank Yallop, who brought in three new designated players this winter in midfielder Shaun Maloney, and forwards David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike.

"They'll be ramped up. We've just got to be disciplined, we've got to be organized," said Robinson. "When we get our chances, as we did on Saturday (against Toronto) when we didn't take them, we've got to take them."

The Fire and Whitecaps played to a 0-0 draw at Toyota Park last season, before tying 1-1 in exhibition play last month. Playing to draws is something these teams are used to — Chicago led Major League Soccer with 18 ties in 2014, while Vancouver was next with 14.

The Whitecaps made the playoffs for the second time in three years last season and secured their best road record in four MLS campaigns, grinding out three wins, five losses and nine draws.

But they also scored just 15 goals in those 17 fixtures — including seven combined in a two-match span in early June — and know an improved road record will go a long way in booking a return to the post-season.

"We need to get back on track," said Harvey. "It's an opportunity for us to get a win on the road. Last year we didn't get enough. We did have some good performances, but this is the first of many road games and we need to come out with the right attitude."

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