VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson was keenly aware of the goings on in the Colorado Rapids game Wednesday night against the LA Galaxy.
And despite the Rapids jumping out to a big lead early, Robinson came away pleased after the Galaxy stormed back to win, delivering another blow to Colorado’s playoff chances and keeping the Whitecaps alone in fifth place in the Western Conference.
"It's that nitty-gritty time of the season where everyone is going to be watching everyone else's results," Robinson said at training on Thursday. "All we can do is focus on our results. LA, I did fancy them to go and beat Colorado, and at halftime I was kind of questioning myself, so when they come back and won 4-3, I wasn't really surprised.
"It gives LA three more points and obviously Colorado lost out but they're still in contention. As long as we focus on ourselves we'll be OK."
And that same Galaxy team is up next for Vancouver, in a Saturday matchup at StubHub Center (10:30pm ET; TSN2 in Canada, MLS LIVE). But Robinson also can’t help but looking ahead with the sixth-place Portland Timbers coming to Vancouver the following week. The Timbers, who face the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, trail Vancouver by just two points.
"Definitely," Robinson said when asked if he’s looking ahead to the game against their Cascadia rivals. "A lot of me looks ahead to that because it's a big game. It always is against one of our rivals. We've got to concentrate on Saturday's business first. It's a big game. It's a game I think we can go and win. I do have an eye on [Portland], but it's not the important focus. The focus is this week against LA against Bruce [Arena, Galaxy head coach] and his team."
That has been Robinson's mantra this season. And by stretching their points lead over Colorado to three and the proverbial six-point game looming against the Timbers, Vancouver does indeed control their own destiny with 11 games remaining.
"I think it's always been in our hands," goalkeeper David Ousted told reporters. "It's there, and it'll probably be there for most of the rest of the season. It's in our hands.
"We've always that said it's about us. It's not about what the people about us are doing. We need to get wins. We need to play the kind of football that we can do, and if we can do that then I'm confident that we can push our way in there."
While confidence abounds among the Whitecaps, veteran defender Andy O'Brien refused to get too carried away with the concept of Vancouver being masters of their own fate and feels they can't look too far ahead.
"We know that if we do it a stage a time then we hope it's going to lead to our goal of getting in the playoffs," O'Brien said. "You daresay the season to a certain extent can start now if you go on a run with 11 or 10 games to go."