VANCOUVER — It's been a rough season for the Vancouver Whitecaps, but striker Lucas Cavallini is simply trying to stay positive.
“I don’t want to get frustrated anymore, I don’t want to get upset," he told reporters Friday. "I just want to finish these games the best way I can.”
The 27-year-old Canadian joined the 'Caps last December after establishing himself as a proven scorer in Mexico's Liga MX.
But finding the back of the net has been difficult for Cavallini in Major League Soccer. He has just two goals in 11 games this season.
The offensive dry spell comes amid a tough time for the Whitecaps (5-11-0). Vancouver is on a four-game losing skid and has been outscored 13-to-1 since the team's last win on Sept. 19. The lone goal came from a penalty kick by Fredy Montero.
It hasn't been an easy stretch, Cavallini admitted.
“A lot of negatives this past month, these past two months," he said. "But I’m just trying to stay positive, train hard and take each game as serious as I can.”
Cavallini and the Whitecaps will look for redemption once again on Saturday when they host Real Salt Lake (4-6-6) at their temporary home in Portland.
The pressure to perform is quickly mounting for the 'Caps, who are currently in the second-last spot in the MLS Western Conference.
Things can change quickly in MLS, Cavallini said. After all, Vancouver is still just four points out of a playoff position.
“This league is really inconsistent when it comes to the games and results. Anything can happen," Cavallini said.
“We have to look at it as winning every game. Maybe it sounds impossible to some people, but to me it’s possible. You never know.”
Salt Lake is also battling for a post-season berth and has struggled with consistency this year. The squad failed to put a single shot on target in its 2-1 loss to Seattle on Wednesday night, settling for an own goal by Sounders defender Nouhou.
RSL is just one spot above Vancouver in the table, so Saturday's matchup is sure to be intense, said Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos.
“Guys want to play this like they’re playing a final. It’s between two teams who are fighting for a playoff spot," he said.
“When you are in games like that, they’re just games that are going to be closer and closer, looking like playoff games.”
The Whitecaps will get back two key pieces for Saturday's game. Both Cavallini and midfielder Janio Bikel sat out Wednesday's 3-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes due to suspensions.
The club will be missing Andy Rose, however, after the midfielder was ejected from Wednesday's game for receiving a pair of yellow cards.
Despite the final result on Wednesday, Dos Santos believes his team can build on parts of their last performance. The Whitecaps created ample chances in the first half of the game, he said, and can continuing setting themselves up if they maintain a similar pressure against RSL.
“I believe that these chances are going to turn into goals. And that’s what I expect (on Saturday)," the coach said.
REAL SALT LAKE (4-6-6) AT VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (5-11-0)
Saturday, Providence Park
SUSPENSION SUSPENDED: Erik Godoy will be an option for the 'Caps on Saturday. The Argentine defender was given a red card in the 76th minute of Wednesday's game but the Whitecaps appealed the call. The MLS announced Friday that an Independent Review Panel rescinded Godoy's one-game suspension and fine.
ON DUTY: Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak will miss Saturday's game. The 26-year-old is away playing for the Slovak national team.
CENTURION: Right back Jake Nerwinski is set to make his 100th appearance for the Whitecaps. The 25-year-old American has two goals for Vancouver this season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press