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Confident Whitecaps know they can't afford to be complacent against Crew

04/07/2015 04:38 EDT | Updated 06/07/2015 05:59 EDT
VANCOUVER - A quick start to the season has the Vancouver Whitecaps brimming with confidence.

Vancouver is riding a franchise-high four-game win streak, which has pushed the Whitecaps to the top of the Major League Soccer standings with a 4-1-0 record for 12 points.

The Whitecaps are doing many things right but the players know they can't be complacent heading into Wednesday night's game against the Columbus Crew at BC Place Stadium.

"Complacency would be a big mistake for us," said goalkeeper David Ousted. "I don't think we have proven anything yet.

"We've got some good wins but we are still early in the season. We need to prove we can be consistent and be a team that people can count on being up there in the standings."

Skeptics can say the Whitecaps have built their record off the backs of teams below .500. The four clubs Vancouver has beat — Chicago, Orlando, Portland and L.A. — have a total of five wins between them.

The Whitecaps did dominate the defending MLS champions Galaxy in Saturday's 2-0 victory, but were badly outplayed by Portland the week before. Vancouver also needed late goals for three of their wins.

"I don't think anybody is looking too much at the table right now because it's really young," said midfielder Russell Teibert. "We know that we've won a couple games in a row. We're just going to try to keep doing what we were doing that got us here.

"We will do the simple things well and hopefully we will keep getting results."

The Crew has started the season 1-2-0 and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference with three points. Ousted said that record can be deceiving.

"You look at their team and they have a chance of hurting us," said Ousted, who has three clean sheets so far this year. "We need to be aware there are no easy games.

"We are off a little bit of a high beating L.A. We need to be really consistent and really focused on what the task is."

The Crew will be without Argentine midfielder Federico Higuain, who is suspended after receiving a red card in a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls.

Coach Gregg Berhalter said Higuain's absence will give other players an opportunity.

"We bring someone in with different qualities and it might change slightly how we're going to play," Berhalter told the Crew's website.

"It's a chance early in the season to give guys an opportunity to play and that is valuable. Obviously it's a little bit frustrating not being able to play the same lineup, but at the same time you get a look at guys early on and test your depth."

Crew midfielder Ethan Finlay said this is a good time for his team to start turning the season around.

"It's going to be a tough test and it's a tough place to play," he said. "But I think we're up to the task."

Vancouver forward Octavio Rivero has a league-leading four goals and is tied for most shots on goal with nine.

With the Whitecaps playing three games in eight days — they travel to San Jose on Saturday — the coaching staff has some roster decisions to make.

"We have to think about 'Do we freshen things up,' " said assistant coach Gordon Forrest. "The fortunate thing we do have is a fantastic roster, a number of players that can come in and out of the team.

"We have good options because we have good players."

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