It wasn't pretty, but it was effective.
The Vancouver Whitecaps kept their unbeaten start to the 2014 season alive on Saturday with a scoreless draw against the New England Revolution in a game in which both teams struggled for incision in the final third.
“I knew it was always going to be a tricky match,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. “It's their first home game, they've come off two defeats which usually a team gives a reaction. We had to travel to the East Coast, it was windy conditions.
“That's not an excuse at all because that's the way the league's set up, but I knew it was going to be a difficult game, and the boys showed a lot of character in getting the result.”
Still, while happy to claim a second road point in as many weeks, Robinson admitted the team hasn't fully adopted his possession-first style and that was evident for large stretches.
“That's something we'll need to look at and review and sit down with the guys and talk,” Robinson said when asked about the Whitecaps' tendency to play long balls rather than play to feet. “I want to build up from the back. What I don't want to do is take ridiculous chances...sometimes it's difficult if the game starts going end-to-end.
“They played a lot of direct balls as well, and we've got to just be weary of us as a team about how we can put our stamp on the play when the game is not going in the right direction that we want. We're eight weeks in, nine weeks in [including preseason], so it's going to take time, but we'll continue to work on it.”
With a midfield that looked largely dysfunctional, it was the backline and in particular goalkeeper David Ousted who came out looking the best for the visitors.
“It might be,” Ousted responded on TEAM 1410 when asked if the save was his best since joining the Whitecaps midway through last campaign. “It was a great one, and even better timing. Because if we had gone 1-0 down there, it would have been a tough game for us. So it was an important time.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.