VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps know their recent play simply hasn't been good enough, says the team's goalkeeper.
"We all know it. We're not hiding. We all know it," Maxime Crepeau said Saturday after the 'Caps lost their fifth Major League Soccer game in a row, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes (10-7-4).
"Everyone deserves better from this club. We need to be better, bottom line."
Boos echoed around the stadium in Vancouver as the game ended, and two people in the stands were spotted wearing paper bags on their heads.
Failing to give fans the performance they deserve hurts, said Whitecaps (4-11-8) coach Marc Dos Santos.
"It's not easy right now but it's just going to make me, the staff and the players involved stronger, for sure," he said.
The squad is now winless in their last nine outings across all competition.
Saturday night's game started well, with the team looking motivated and aggressive, Dos Santos said.
Centre back Doneil Henry opened the scoring in the seventh minute, popping a low shot into the bottom left corner of the Quakes' net. He now has three goals this season.
The Whitecaps hadn't scored since the fifth minute of their dismal 6-1 defeat at the hands of Los Angeles FC on July 6.
But Quakes midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili was quick to respond, putting away San Jose's first strike of the night in the 16th minute.
Chris Wondolowski — who became the league's all-time leading scorer earlier this season — assisted on the play and added a goal of his own in the 34th minute.
From there, it was tough for the 'Caps to come back, Dos Santos said.
"When we concede the two goals, mentally right now, it's hard for us. To get a reaction there, it's hard," he said.
San Jose's Manus Eriksson rounded out the scoring in the 79th minute, sending a low shot sailing into the Vancouver goal.
Crepeau pounded his fists into the turf after the play.
"The first thing on my mind was just frustration. Like "Holy (pause). I'm beaten.' It hurts," he said.
"I always want to get the game even and keep the team in. And when it was at 3-1, it was a goal that hurts a lot."
The keeper had eight saves on the night, while the lone shot Vancouver put on target went past Quakes goalie Daniel Vega.
The 'Caps were massively out-worked offensively, with San Jose outshooting the home team 32 to six.
San Jose has now won five of their last six matchups, despite starting the season on a five-game losing skid.
Wondolowski said the group has believed they have something special since the beginning of the season.
"Things weren't really going our way. We got off to a very poor start, but the confidence is building," he said, adding that the team knew its potential.
"We weren't playing to it and weren't doing the little things last year and we (were) getting punished directly. Coach (Almeyda) and his staff have really ironed out a lot of those details and really given us an identity of who we want to be and how we want to play. And you're starting to see it."
While the Quakes are on the upswing, the 'Caps faint playoff hopes have grown increasingly dim.
After Saturday's dismal loss, the team needs to sit down and figure out what they need to do better, Crepeau said.
"I think it's now correcting on video what we can do better, pushing, covering each other, and fighting for each other instead of just saying 'Oh, damn. We lost. A lot of goals conceded,' " he said. "It's just about positivity after that. Because if we start to drown ourselves, we're not going to get up from this."
The team will continue fighting, Dos Santos said.
"What I can tell the fans is that our team's going to be on the field every day to do their best to win the game," he said.
The Whitecaps will be back in action on Wednesday, hosting the Canadian Premier League's Calvary FC in the next phase of the Canadian Championship qualifier.
The Colorado Rapids will visit the Quakes in MLS action next Saturday.
NOTES: Vancouver centre back Doneil Henry played the 100th game of his MLS career. ... Wondolowski has 149 career goals for the Quakes. ... San Jose's Judson, Nick Lima and Paul Marie were each shown yellow cards. Whitecaps Yordy Reyna and Theo Bair also received cautions.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press