Carl Robinson questions going with unchanged lineup as Vancouver Whitecaps draw at Chicago Fire
When Major League Soccer's two draw specialists met at Toyota Park on Wednesday evening, it shouldn't have really come as a surprise to anyone that the Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps served up a 0-0 result.
With 21 draws between them going into the game, neither side could find the breakthrough in a match that lacked any real creative spark from either side.
"I predicted it before the game that it would probably end up being a draw because we've drawn a lot of games recently, as have they," Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told Vancouver's Team 1410 radio after the match.
"I couldn't fault the boys’ effort. The effort was fantastic, as it has been all year. As I say all along, it's a fine line between winning and losing."
Or in Vancouver's case, drawing.
On the positive side, the game was Vancouver's third-straight road draw and they remain unbeaten against Eastern Conference opposition this season in eight matches. But after dropping five points from their last two home games, this was a match that the Whitecaps had targeted as one to get some of those points back with an away win.
With Colorado losing away to New England on the same evening, it was also another wasted opportunity for Vancouver to leapfrog some playoff rivals and get back into the top five places in the West.
"You can spin it that way if you want or you can look at it that we just come on the road and we picked up one point," Robinson said. "If Colorado have lost a game then they haven't picked up any points today."
In the build up to the Chicago game Robinson had indicated that there may be more squad rotation following a sapping game against Dallas on Sunday and a tiring flight east.
After Sunday's attacking display, where Vancouver racked up a club record setting 30 shots, Robinson decided to stick with an unchanged lineup. But it was a tired and lackluster Whitecaps side at times in the Illinois heat, leaving the 'Caps coach wondering if he had made the correct choice.
"I made the decision because they'd played so well," Robinson said. "Was it the right decision? I don't know. We picked up a point on the road in a difficult place.
"I sensed it a little bit in the warm up. I thought they were excellent on Sunday with the performance so I made the decision to keep it the same, but they looked a little bit tired and a little bit leggy in the early part of the game.
"That makes you think, maybe I should have inserted it [more pep]. That's why I made the substitutions early, to try and get a bit of life into it and to try and win the game, but unfortunately we couldn't."