The Vancouver Whitecaps have started their 2024 MLS season quite well. Of course, it has only been three games but the start of the season has been impressive, to say the least.

The Whitecaps are having their best start since 2012. That season they had two wins and a draw in their first three games just like this season. Their next best start is 2014 when they won one game and drew two. In both 2012 and 2014, the Whitecaps made the playoffs. But they were knocked out of the first round both times. In 2012, it was to David Beckham and the LA Galaxy dynasty and in 2014, to FC Dallas.

Vancouver won four road games in MLS play in 2023 and didn’t get their first one until June 24 against LAFC. This season, the Whitecaps have won two road games in a row with impressive wins over the San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas.

In the game in San Jose, the substitutions made the difference as the Whitecaps maintained their defensive structure and shape. In Dallas, they were firing on all cylinders in the first half and managed to hang on in the second half.

After three games, the Whitecaps have for the most part played good soccer. Well, except for the first half in the home opener against Charlotte FC.

They have scored six goals from six different goalscorers and have only conceded two in the first three games of the season. Vancouver also leads MLS in accurate shooting percentage at 54.2%. They also are third in interceptions per 90 at 11.7 according to FotMob.

Four games in a row at home

Speaking of home, the Whitecaps will play the next four games at BC Place. The first is this Saturday against Real Salt Lake.

RSL will come into Vancouver well-rested. They have not played since March 9 and that was a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. Real Salt Lake will look motivated to come out of their bye week to get their second win of the season.

After RSL, the Whitecaps play the Portland Timbers, Toronto FC, and LA Galaxy at BC Place. It is always fun when Toronto and Vancouver play each other as it is a match between two Canadian clubs. It is also great for the Vancouver versus Toronto memes on Twitter.

But RSL, Portland and the Galaxy are teams the Whitecaps will be fighting for playoff positioning with. The Whitecaps need to get as many points as possible during this four-game homestand. The points could mean something late in the season. If they don’t get many points, the homestand will be looked back on as a missed opportunity.

The Whitecaps need to make sure home is where the heart is. Getting at least seven or eight points in the homestand is a reasonable goal.

It is also worth mentioning that head coach Vanni Sartini’s suspension has been reduced and he will be back on the touchline for the game against Portland.

Change in mentality

This year’s Whitecaps team looks to be different from the ones from the past. The bar has been raised and the feeling around the team and the fans is that 2024 could potentially be a special year. So far, they have gotten off to a good start but they still have a long way to go.

Wingback Ryan Raposo believes that the Whitecaps can do special things this year. He spoke about the mentality of the team after the win in Dallas on Saturday.

“The mentality is a lot different,” he said per AFTN. “I was just speaking with someone from the medical staff, and they’re saying ‘wow, what a difference it’s been since you first came in 2020’. Back then, you know, it would have been crazy in the locker room. Now, guys are happy and the music is going but it’s not like we just won the MLS Cup.”

“Personally I love that mentality and it shows that that is the standard almost: That we go on the road to win matches, and at home, we try to win matches. So I love that mentality from the guys and I think with the additions we’ve brought in, the maturity they have, it’s helped us in these types of moments and to hold off in the second half and just grind that second half out.”

Now it is up to the Whitecaps to show off their mentality in these upcoming four games at BC Place.