Marc Dos Santos, the Whitecaps’ head coach, has been fired

Marc Dos Santos
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The Vancouver Whitecaps have fired head coach Marc Dos Santos, and sporting director Axel Schuster feels the change will give the team the boost it needs as it fights for a playoff spot. “I’m confident it’s the wake-up call to go back and focus also on the tiny things that we’re not doing well,” Schuster said on a video chat with media after the team fired Dos Santos on Friday.

Marc’s brother, Phil Dos Santos, was also removed of his position as an assistant coach with the team. Vanni Sartini, the Whitecaps’ director of methodology, will serve as the team’s acting head coach. Assistant coach Ricardo Clark and goalie coach Youssef Dahha will remain in their positions, according to the team.

Since the Dos Santos brothers came in Vancouver in 2018, Sartini said he’d built a friendship with them. The Whitecaps (5-7-8) were eliminated from the Canadian Championship for the second time under Dos Santos’ leadership after a 4-3 surprise loss to Pacific FC of the Canadian Premier League on Thursday.

The Whitecaps were at the bottom of Major League Soccer’s Western Conference rankings early this season after losing five straight games, but they have since returned and are on an eight-game MLS winning streak. On Friday, the team was three points off of a playoff berth.

The decision to fire Dos Santos wasn’t based just on the outcome of Thursday’s game, according to Schuster, who noted that he’d previously spoken with the coaching staff about what needs to happen. According to Schuster, one area where the squad can improve is on defence.

This season, the Whitecaps have given up the third-most goals in the Western Conference (30), while starting goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau has made 50 saves in his 15 outings.

On Sunday, when the Whitecaps visit Real Salt Lake at B.C. Place, fans shouldn’t expect many changes on the field.

Sartini stated that he will not do anything “wild or different” for the game because the team has been successful. If any changes are made, the interim coach stated they will be made next week.

Last season, the Whitecaps finished three points short of the playoff cutoff with a 9-14-0 record, missing the playoffs for the third year in a row.

Making the playoffs this year is crucial, according to Schuster. It remains to be seen whether sacking Dos Santos will detract from that goal, he continued. Dos Santos, 44, was nearing the end of his tenure with the Vancouver Canucks. After a year as an assistant with upstart Los Angeles FC, he took over as coach in November 2018.

The Whitecaps were forced to end the 2020 season in Portland and began this season playing home games in Sandy, Utah, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the coach, who was born in Montreal.

Dos Santos remarked that being separated from his family took a toll on him. Despite the club’s terrible start to the season, Dos Santos stated he doesn’t feel under pressure. He claimed that not being able to feed his family, or having cancer or a brain tumour, would put him under serious stress.

“Is it stressful to be fired? It’s part of every coach’s journey, right? It’s even more crucial for a coach on his way up to be fired ” On June 24, he remarked this after Vancouver’s fifth straight loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, a 2-1 defeat.

Dos Santos served with the San Francisco Deltas of the North American Soccer League before joining MLS, where he was named manager of the year in 2017. In 2015, his second and final season with the Ottawa Fury, he led the team to the NASL final.