Whitecaps looking for more success on the road against Real Salt Lake

Coach Mike Petke said team needs some mental adjustments following 3-1 loss at Toronto

Brek Shea’s critics have plenty of pointed questions about the way he plays soccer.

They wonder about the Vancouver Whitecap midfielder’s passion for the game. They don’t think Shea’s production equals the salary paid to the designated player which, according to the MLS union website, was US$670,000 last September.

Coach Carl Robinson answers those critics by pointing to the two goals Shea has scored on the road this season, both in games the Whitecaps have won.

“I’m a big fan of Brek Shea,” Robinson said after a Whitecaps’ training session this week. “I think sometimes he gets unfair criticism. People always look at what players can’t do rather than what they can do.

“Brek has got us six points already this season because of his play.”

The Whitecaps (3-1-1) will need another strong road performance when they play Real Salt Lake (1-2-1) Saturday in a Major League Soccer match at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“They have a young team and a good team,” said Shea. “Some results haven’t gone their way. At the end of last year, I think they were playing really well.

“They have threats all over the field. We have to go there with the mentality like we had the last road games and try and get three points, stick to our game plan.”

Vancouver obtained Shea in February 2017 in a trade with Orlando City SC for Giles Barnes. The long and lanky 28-year-old from Bryan, Texas, has scored six goals in 30 games with the Whitecaps. Five of those have come on the road.

Shea scored the tying goal in the 51st minute of last week’s 2-1, come-from-behind win over the Columbus Crew. Often a man of few words with dealing with the media, he shrugged when asked about his ability to score goals away from BC Place Stadium.

“I haven’t thought about that,” Shea said. “You just go out and try to get three points for your team.

“If you score it’s good, whether it’s home or away. If the team wins, it’s even better.”

Some Whitecap fans expected more out of Shea, a former U.S. international who spent two seasons with Stoke City of the English Premier League.

Robinson is quick to defend Shea.

“Yes, there are areas he needs to work at and he wants to work at and he does on a daily basis,” said Robinson. “Let’s focus on what he’s good at.

“Brek is a key part of his squad because he brings something different. He’s a very direct runner. He likes to get in behind, he’s got good delivery. He’s got good goal scoring ability with both feet.”

The Whitecaps’ 10 points leaves them tied with Sporting Kansas City for first place in the MLS Western Conference. Vancouver and Los Angeles Football Club also have the best road records in the West at 2-1-0.

“We just go there with a mentality to get three points,” said Shea. “We can’t get them every time, but we enjoy it the times we have.”

Real Salt Lake is ninth in the West, one of three teams with four points.

Coach Mike Petke said his team needs some mental adjustments following a 3-1 loss at Toronto last weekend.

“You can teach players to pass the ball from A to B,” Petke told the Salt Lake City Tribune. “You can teach a player to move three yards to the left to receive the ball.

“I’m not a psychiatrist. It’s going to be interesting to talk to individuals and collectively about our mentality. It’s early in the season, but that’s clear. When I say mentality, it covers a lot of things.”

One of the Salt Lake players the Whitecaps must maintain close watch on is forward Joao Plata. He leads the team with two goals and is second with six shots.

Vancouver defender Jake Nerwinski said the five-foot-two, 157-pound Ecuadorian isn’t easy to move off the ball.

“I played against him twice last year so I kind of know his tendencies a little bit,” said Nerwinski. “He’s a quick guy. He’s small, he’s low to the ground.

“He’s very good with the ball. I just have to be aggressive with him early.”

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

MARS Wildlife Rescue offers some tips on keeping hummingbird feeders clean

Mould from dirty hummingbird feeders can be fatal

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Northern Health Authority expands medical bus use

Over 60 or have mobility challenges? You can now travel on Northern Connections.

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

Most Read