Like the early summer weather in Vancouver, the clouds surrounding the Vancouver Whitecaps are gloomy and grey. Also like the weather, the Whitecaps have been frustrating. When will the sun come out? Or in this case, wins.

Vancouver is coming off two straight losses and has only won two games in their last ten. They have a 2-5-3 record in their last ten games. Well, that’s not good.

Up next is St. Louis City SC, the newest club in MLS. Like the Whitecaps, they have not been in good form recently.

Sophomore slump for St. Louis

St. Louis was a surprise last season. They were a first-year expansion team and finished top of the Western Conference record with a 17-5-12 record. But in the playoffs, they got swept in the best of three first-round series by Sporting Kansas City.

Right now, St. Louis City SC has a 3-10-6 record and sits 12th in the Western Conference. They have 19 points and sit six points behind seventh-place Vancouver.

St. Louis is coming off a 1-1 home draw against Atlanta United. They have not won a game since May 11. That was a 3-1 win over the Chicago Fire at home. João Klauss had a brace in that game.

Speaking of Klauss, he leads St. Louis in scoring with five and is tied for second with assists with Edouard Löwen. They both have two. Klauss is a dangerous creator and scorer especially when he gets inside the box.

It also looks like Klauss looks to be questionable for Saturday’s game at BC Place.

St. Louis is also one of the worst road teams in MLS this season. Only they and FC Dallas have not won an away game.

St. Louis City SC has scored 24 goals and that is ranked 23rd in the league. They are right behind the Whitecaps who have 26. In terms of conceding, St. Louis has given up 31 which is tied for ninth.

Whitecaps need to turn frustration into a win

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini and Sporting Director and CEO Axel Schuster spoke to the media on Thursday morning to talk about the upcoming match and other things.

“I hope everyone’s frustrated because you need frustration to become better, the worst thing is to give up and don’t care anymore,” said Schuster. “Channel the frustration into the right direction.”

“This is the most important moment of the season, how you deal with the situation,” he also said.

Sartini stated that his team shouldn’t take St. Louis lightly despite their form and believed the opponents are a better team than 2023. He also strongly emphasized staying sharp.

“We need to be better, finishing more chances and need to be a little better in not making individual mistakes in the back line,” he said. “We need to be mentally stronger because that’s what we did in the last couple of games before the break.”

Captain Ryan Gauld leads the Whitecaps in goals (nine) and assists (three) this season. However, the team has heavily relied upon him for offence. Sartini didn’t think Gauld is under too much pressure.

“It’s not that we need to find a way to take off the pressure,” he said. “It’s to find ways to give more chances to him and everyone else in order to try to score at the same time.”

Other worthy notes

Tom Bogert of The Athletic reported Thursday afternoon that Fafa Picault wants to head back to the East Coast this summer. The forward/winger is now available for a trade.

Earlier that day, during the media conference, I asked Schuster if the team’s poor form added more pressure heading into the transfer window.

“That would be true even if we had seen our team performing differently,” he said. “This is not an excuse for any performance or one single game but if you look at the stretch of games, what lies ahead of us, we also have to say strengthening the team also comes from the Copa (America) players and the players that are injured right now.”

“As I said it was foreseeable to see that will happen during Copa. At any time, I have full belief in this group and if we had every player available, we could compete for a top-four spot. Unfortunately, that is the case but that is also true for our opponents. We have to fight through this period and will look at additions to the roster to see if an addition makes sense but not because we aren’t getting results right now.”

Schuster also revealed that BC Place will be getting natural grass for the July 27 game against Wrexham. It is because the promoter, TEG Sports wanted it.

Sartini also hinted that Whitecaps FC 2 striker Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau could get a call-up for the game against St. Louis. The 22-year-old leads WFC 2 in goals with five.

On Wednesday, Corus Entertainment pulled the plug on AM 730, an all-traffic station. That station broadcasted the Whitecaps games. When asked about it by AFTN, a club spokesperson said they are working with Corus on broadcasting options and more info will be shared in the coming days. It is unclear if that will be revealed before Saturday’s game against St. Louis.

Kickoff is at 7:30 pm.