VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping that it will be a case of the third time being the charm as they head down to California to take on Chivas USA on Saturday evening (10:30pm ET; TSN in Canada, MLS Live in US).
Despite currently propping up the Western Conference, Chivas have been something of a bogey team for Vancouver in recent games, securing a home win and a road victory in the sides’ two meetings so far this season.
After beating the Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City this past Sunday, Whitecaps’ coach Carl Robinson knows it will count for little if they can’t follow it up with a win against Chivas, but is aware his side need to improve on their previous mistakes.
"[Chivas are] a very well organized team, well coached and they've had the better of us this year so far, so we've got to make sure that we correct the wrongs that we've done in the previous games," Robinson told reporters at training this week.
"The first game we played against them early in the season was a bit of a nothing game. They went down to 10 men, we conceded a sloppy goal and got back in to it. The second game, we thoroughly dominated the game but didn't win the game. We've got to make sure that the outcome, whatever our performance, that we come out with a result because that's the most important thing."
When the sides met at BC Place last month, Chivas striker Erick "Cubo" Torres was the man in form, heading into the match on the back of a four game goalscoring streak. He added another in Chivas’ 3-1 win over Vancouver, but has gone scoreless now in his last three matches.
For this one, it is Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks who finds himself in the rich vein of form, with four goals in his side’s last five matches, and it’s a streak he hopes to build on down at StubHub Center. The Jamaican though feels that Vancouver still need to keep a very careful eye on Torres and had high praise for the All-Star striker.
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"It's very big," Mattocks said of Saturday’s match. "Beating SKC at the weekend, it's going to be an even tougher game at the weekend, in my opinion, against Chivas. It's probably not going to be the same environment, so we've got to take that into consideration. I think we just got to even increase the intensity against Chivas because we haven't beaten them all season. I think that's going to be a tougher challenge for us.
"We've got to be aware of their striker, 'Cubo' Torres. I think the kid has been fantastic. We've got to take that into consideration. They're much better over this past season. I think there's no weak teams to be honest in this Conference. We've got to take every single game like we're playing a final."