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Whitecaps try to dig out of West cellar vs. Earthquakes

May 11, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada;  Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Sebastian Berhalter (16) goes up for a header against Valour FC forward Daryl Fordyce (16) during the second half at BC Place. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini told his players after last Sunday’s 1-0 victory against Toronto FC that they played “like a bunch of mothers.”

Sartini, whose team plays host to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, meant it in a good way on Mother’s Day.

“Mothers care, mothers fight for their kids, they’re tough, and they need to be tough,” Sartini said.

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Sartini hopes the Whitecaps (2-6-1, 7 points) will continue with their maternal instincts as they attempt to escape the Western Conference cellar.

Tosaint Ricketts scored the winner against visiting Toronto in the 90th minute. He’s the seventh different player to score for the Whitecaps this season, and no player has scored more than once.

Vancouver goalkeeper Thomas Hasal left in the second half with a finger injury and Sartini said he won’t play Saturday, leaving the net to backup Cody Cropper, who finished off the shutout against Toronto.

The Earthquakes (2-5-3, 9 points) will be looking to snap a four-game road losing streak.

Jeremy Ebobisse has scored a team-high five goals for San Jose and Cristian Espinoza has four goals and four assists.

The Earthquakes defeated visiting Colorado 1-0 last weekend as Nathan scored in the 64th minute. It was San Jose’s second win in three MLS matches since Alex Covelo replaced Matias Almeyda as coach.

“I think the guys have done a great job during the transition. It’s definitely not easy. We owe a lot to Matias (Almeyda) and his staff,” Earthquakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski said. “A lot of the way that we pressure and the way that we defend can be credited to them for teaching us over the past three and a half, four years.

“But, with (Alex) Covelo’s system, I think it’s a little more structured, a little more less-is-more approach, I would say. I think this is a good indication of how we’ll play moving forward.”

–Field Level Media