VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps are not dwelling on what could have — or should have — been, says coach Marc Dos Santos.
Going into the third week of their Major League Soccer season, the Whitecaps (0-2-0) have suffered a pair of frustrating defeats and have yet to post their first point.
But fixating on the past isn't going to help the squad grow, Dos Santos said.
"We're focused on what's next," he said after training on Tuesday. "I've said it many times — we don't want to be cry babies here. We want to be a staff and a group of players that look to improve. And the little things we cannot control are a waste of energy."
Still, last Saturday's 1-0 road loss to Real Salt Lake (1-0-1) is tough to take, said fullback Jake Nerwinski.
"The result stings the most, really," he said. "It's the fact that we didn't get points when I think that we deserved to get points."
The only goal of the game came off a penalty kick awarded after the ref called the 24-year-old for tripping Corey Baird in the box. Video of the play, however, doesn't appear to show any contact between the players.
Social media backlash against the call was swift, but Nerwinski said he's had to stop looking at the reactions.
"Now I just need to look forward, I need to work on the things that make me the player I am and I need to just look forward to the next game," he said.
Instead of dissecting the phantom foul over and over, the team is looking at the play that lead up to the whistle and trying to learn from how Baird got into a one-on-one situation with Nerwinski, Dos Santos said.
"That's our focus and that's how you grow as a team," he said.
That growth is happening each half that the team plays together, said centre back Derek Cornelius.
"The game against Minnesota wasn't as good as the game on the weekend, so we're moving in the right direction," he said. "And I think it's just going to keep going that way because all of the guys are still very positive, still working hard every day at training and working on the small things that we need to clean up that’s going to eventually bring us in the right way."
The 'Caps will be tested again this weekend when they take on the Dynamo (1-0-1) in Houston.
Dos Santos said the team has some similarities to Real Salt Lake. Both are good in transition and have key players who'll need to be contained, the coach said.
"Every game has different challenges. Some teams look (more) similar than others," he said. "But we're focused on how we can succeed and get out of Houston with points."
In the opening game of the season, the 'Caps went down 3-1 in the 70th minute en route to a 3-2 loss to Minnesota United. Last weekend, the penalty kick goal came 21 minutes in.
The squad can't keep trying to play catch up, Cornelius said.
"I think we really need to have our foot on the gas and not kind of wait to see what's going on in the game," he said. "Let's be the ones trying to dictate the tempo, dictate the game."
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS (0-2-0) AT HOUSTON DYNAMO (1-0-1)
Saturday, BBVA Compass Stadium
POINTLESS: The Whitecaps are one of just three MLS teams who have yet to capture a single point this season. The San Jose Earthquaks and Philadelphia Union also have a pair of losses going into week three.
HEATING UP: The Whitecaps know they're in for some warm, humid conditions in Texas this weekend. Saturday's forecast calls for sun, clouds and highs of around 16 C. The sticky weather will be a departure from Vancouver's chilly winds and temperatures of about 7 C, which the team has been training in this week.
BIG CHANCES: Despite the recent results, Dos Santos likes how many chances his crew is creating. The 'Caps had 16 shots and nine chances from open play against Real Salt Lake.