Part-owner Steve Nash sees brighter times ahead for Vancouver Whitecaps

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, left, and NBA basketball player Steve Nash stand together prior to the Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC MLS soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday March 19, 2011. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

TORONTO — Part-owner Steve Nash sees brighter days ahead for the Vancouver Whitecaps under first-year coach Marc Dos Santos.

The Whitecaps (5-11-9) have won just one of their last 10 league outings (1-5-4) and were knocked out of the Canadian Championship by the CPL’s Cavalry FC. Only Colorado and expansion Cincinnati have fewer points in the 24-team MLS.

Vancouver is undergoing a radical makeover under Dos Santos.

"He has a very clear sense of what he wants to do and a vision of how he wants to play and how he wants this club to operate and behave and how he wants his players to behave — which is easier said than done," Nash said in an interview. "He’s somebody that we’re incredibly excited about and proud to have as our coach.

"Having said that, he’s wanted to change and fulfil his vision for the culture and behaviour of the team and the club. So there was big turnover. In a sense, we’re like an expansion team this year. Which I respect. It takes guts to say ‘I’ll let some of these talented players move on in order to instill the principles that I want the club to live.’

"That’s going to make the season difficult. So many unfamiliar faces trying to come together."

The former NBA star says an unforgiving schedule coupled with MLS’s no-frills travel policy has also cut into training time.

"Now we’ve come out of that period. We’re playing a little less frequently and gotten a couple of results on the bounce here," Nash said.

Vancouver beat Cincinnati 2-1 last time out after tying Minnesota 0-0 on the road. That mini-resurgence came after one-sided losses to San Jose (3-1), New England (4-0), Sporting Kansas City (3-0) and Los Angeles FC (6-1).

"That shows the character’s there," Nash said of the recent improvement. "And the things he’s trying to implement didn’t wash away with those big losses."

Nash was in Toronto to promote the sports streaming service DAZN, which has acquired the Canadian rights to the English Premier League.

By Neil Davidson

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