Under the cosh, but over the red line: Vancouver Whitecaps find their form just in time
VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps put themselves firmly back in the Western Conference playoff mix on Sunday with a 2-0 home win over the Eastern Conference leading Sporting Kansas City.
The Whitecaps had blown leads in four of their last five matches and although Darren Mattocks' crucial second goal for Vancouver six minutes before half time eased a little bit of the fears of another repeat, it still didn't leave Caps' coach Carl Robinson completely comfortable.
"It would have been more relaxing if we'd got the third goal to tell you the truth," Robinson told reporters after the game. "At 2-0 you're never really comfortable. I said to the guys at half time, we've been in this position before. We were comfortable leading against Chivas 1-0 and we went out and switched off, so let's just try and learn something today and let's just try and overcome that little bit of a hurdle when we're leading at half time and we come a little bit flat.
"You're going to have a period of time where you're under the cosh a little bit but we bent a little bit but we didn't break and that's the pleasing thing for the guys in there."
It was a much needed win for the Whitecaps, not just from a confidence point of the view but with those around them in the Western Confidence all picking up points and wins in recent games, Vancouver were in danger of being left on the outside looking in.
"I watched all the games yesterday and I was pig sick if I'm honest," Robinson said of the weekend's results. "Every game that I seemed to watch, the result I wanted to go our way didn't go our way, but as I said all along, it's not what other teams do, it's what we do.
"If we concentrate on our business and we get to where I believe we need to get to, then we'll all be happy. If we don't, it's down to me and it's down to the team. I don't want to rely on other teams to try and sneak into the playoffs. If we concentrate on our business and we do our business correctly, then we'll be there or thereabouts."
The Whitecaps went into Sunday's match with one win in their last nine and had fallen down to 7th in the standings. The win now moves them back above the red line in fifth place, but for Whitecaps' goalkeeper David Ousted, the KC result will mean little if they don't go on and build on that now.
"It is definitely crunch time right now," Ousted told reporters after the game. "People are winning next to us and we need to keep winning like we did today to keep up with people and keep going up the standings.
"This was a good start but the work doesn't stop here. We've got an even more important game next week in Chivas. This will be a little bit for nothing if we don't go there and get something out of it