Nine clean sheets.
With another battling defensive performance, the Vancouver Whitecaps continued their steady road record this season with a 0-0 draw against Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
“It was a good performance from us,” head coach Martin Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “In the last 10 minutes, we gave the ball away a couple of times, but that was the only real chances they created when we were a little bit careless on the ball.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Chivas USA 0, Vancouver 0
The match follows Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids when the club snuck a counterattacking victory at altitude in hot and humid conditions.
“Overall, it’s been a good few days for us to get four points out of six on the road against conference rivals,” Rennie said. “It also keeps the gap between us and Chivas quite large at the moment, so overall, a good couple of games.”
Alain Rochat continued his strong performance as a holding midfielder alongside Gershon Koffie after impressing in that role on Wednesday, starting in front of the back four despite defensive midfielder Jun Marques Davidson’s availability following suspension.
“Both are equally good at their jobs,” captain Jay DeMerit told TEAM 1410 following the match. “Obviously they’re a little bit different players, but both you can definitely rely on and trust to do their jobs in front of you and to keep the ball for us to try and find that pass. I think Alain likes to dribble in that space a little bit more and try to link up, while Jun likes to be a little more defensive-minded.
“Either one works and I think both of them show because we’ve kept clean sheets with both so either way that’s a huge positive for us.”
The match was also Barry Robson’s first 90 minutes of MLS action and, while he played a fairly peripheral role, the team will surely be encouraged to see their newly signed Designated Player manage to get through a full match so soon.
“I thought I was [going to work Robson in slowly],” Rennie said. “But tonight, he kept going for 90 minutes. I think the maybe the last 10 he got a bit tired, but he was marking on set plays and I didn’t really want to change that, because the obvious candidates to go on weren’t quite as big and strong as him. It was a difficult decision to keep him on.
“The last few minutes he did get a little bit tired but he did get 90 minutes already, but it does show how professional he is and how hard he’s been working in his offseason and how quickly he’s got his fitness up. Now he should be ready to contribute for us. It will take a few more games to get in the rhythm of things but already he helped us a lot because he was always willing to take the ball, he was always getting in possession of the ball, switched the play very well which opens things up and allows us to keep the ball more easily. So, lots of positive things there.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.