VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps need to "man up" to snap a three-game Major League Soccer losing streak, says Brazilian-born midfielder Felipe.
The Whitecaps were humiliated 6-0 by Sporting Kansas City on Friday at Children's Mercy Park. It was Vancouver's worst defeat in MLS play. Forwards Yordy Reyna and midfielder Efrain Juarez were also handed red cards during a melee in the 40th minute when Vancouver was already trailing 3-0.
"If you're not embarrassed or you're not mad about the result and the way it ended you shouldn't be here," Felipe said Monday after a feisty Vancouver practice.
"Now everyone needs to man up. We've got to regroup, everybody together. It's not only one or two guys that can do it. It's everyone. Every day in training, everyone needs to show up and show life, show heart. That’s what we've got to do. This is unacceptable. It cannot happen anymore."
There were several hard tackles during the training session and more than one player had to pick himself up off the grass.
Captain Kendall Waston liked the spirit shown during practice but said those same emotions need to be on display when the Whitecaps host Real Salt Lake Friday at BC Place Stadium.
"We have to give even more," said the Costa Rican-born defender.
"It's hard to lose one game but worse the way we lost. Now we have time to react. I believe we are going to react. It's easy when you win. I think the big personalities come out from defeats. When you are having a little bit of a struggle that is when you see if you are a man or not."
Friday's defeat was the third consecutive loss for the Whitecaps (3-4-1) who have dropped to sixth place in the MLS Western Conference with 10 points. Both Real Salt Lake and the L.A. Galaxy have 10 points but have played one less game.
Salt Lake beat Vancouver 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium two weeks ago.
The Whitecaps have done a good job of being disciplined this season, but tempers boiled over against Kansas City.
KC's Roger Espinoza crumpled to the ground after what appeared to be a late tackle from Waston. Replays showed Espinoza was barely touched. Waston stood over the fallen player, yelling at him.
Kansas City's Johnny Russell, who scored three goals in the game, shoved Waston. Reyna pulled Russell down from behind and Juarez was tossed for foul language. Russell received a yellow card.
It was the second time in five road games this year the Whitecaps had a player ejected.
Head coach Carl Robinson said winning is difficult in MLS, but almost impossible when playing two men down.
"We need to be better keeping 11 men on the field," he said. "We're not a team of stars. We are a collective team. When the collective is shortened by one or two, then it becomes even more difficult.
"We lost our total focus. That is not acceptable."
Scoring goals is another challenge for the Whitecaps. Vancouver has been outscored 10-1 over the three losses and 17-8 during the season. The Whitecaps' minus-nine goal differential is the worst of any team in the league.
The chances have been there, Vancouver just hasn't put the ball in the net.
"We're getting into areas," said Robinson. "We've not been clinical enough in the opposition’s box when we've had the chances."
The coach is also frustrated by the number of deflected goals his team has allowed.
"Are we unlucky? I think we are, but I also think that is individual defending," said Robinson. "It's not putting the body on the line.
"You should be able to take one in the face or in the private parts and get on with it. Turning your back and getting deflections off heels is not good defending for me."
The Whitecaps have played the last two games without star striker Kei Kamara who is sidelined with a groin injury.
Felipe said the good news for Vancouver is there is plenty of time to turn the season around. He remembers playing for the New York Red Bulls in 2015 when the team went 1-5-3 early in the year but still finished first in the Eastern Conference with a 18-10-6 record.
"It's not about what happened at the beginning, it’s how we finished and how you react to bad situations," he said.
Jim Morris, The Canadian Press