Vancouver Whitecaps' Carl Robinson hoping young front line's accuracy will improve in coming weeks
The Vancouver Whitecaps may have put in a commanding performance to secure their first road win of the season in a 1-0 victory in Columbus this past weekend, but the outing was not perfect as far as Carl Robinson is concerned.
The 'Caps head coach was understandably happy with the three points and the attacking nature of his team in Saturday's game at Crew Stadium, but he also breathed a sigh of relief that his side wasn't punished by Columbus following a series of missed opportunities.
"I said to them, 'I'm delighted because I thought it was a thoroughly professional performance, but I'm disappointed that we only scored one goal,'" Robinson told Vancouver's Team 1410 radio after the game. "I'm sure we'll be doing shooting practice this week in the lead-up to the Toronto game [in Wednesday's second leg of the Canadian Championship]."
Vancouver outshot Columbus 22-12 during the match, an attacking flair not seen too often in the past by Whitecaps teams on the road. Still, the club was worryingly wasteful, with only six of those shots going on target.
Robinson, however, noted that having so many chances was a good sign for his club.
"I'm not too worried," said Robinson. "If [the team] wasn't creating the chances – I was told that Columbus had two shots on target at home – I'd be worried if that was the case. Obviously, that's not the case at the moment, and it's important that we continue to work in the same way to try and create those chances, because we've got players who can score goals.
"But it obviously needs to be on a regular basis, so we'll work with them on that."
The departure of Kenny Miller last weekend has left Vancouver with a very young and inexperienced forward line, which might explain some of the finishies troubles.
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Saturday's goalscoring hero, Erik Hurtado, is 23 years old – as is Darren Mattocks, who missed the Columbus game with a hamstring injury and is expected to be out for a few more weeks. Kekuta Manneh (19), Omar Salgado (20) and Canadian Homegrown striker Caleb Clarke (also 20) round out the forward corps to comprise one of the youngest front lines in the league.
Whilst the goalscoring burden is a lot to put on such young shoulders, so far, they have risen to the occasion with six goals between them. But with their young years comes a rashness at times wand that was evident this past Saturday.
"With young players you're going to get ups and downs," Robinson noted. "[Saturday] was a down in relation to how many chances we took, but it was an up with the performance."