The Vancouver Whitecaps came into Saturday night's game at StubHub Center on the back of three straight clean sheets and looking to get their first ever win or even point on the road against the LA Galaxy. They're still looking.
The talk all week from the 'Caps had been about taking the game to LA in the early going. That plan came undone less than five minutes in when Landon Donovan slid in to give the Galaxy the lead, and the home side never looked back on their way to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
"We conceded after four minutes, which is never good to do when you play away from home in any game, never mind a very good team in LA Galaxy" Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told the media after the match. "The second goal was a very bad goal. Once you go 2-0 down you always have an uphill battle. After the second goal went in, we lost our way a little bit."
Robinson said the game could have quickly gotten out of hand and he prodded his team on in the halftime locker room. He said he was pleased with how they responded in the second half.
“I think that's what I was pleased with the most, managing to sort it out,” he said. “… I'm proud of the response. Obviously I'm not proud of the result, we didn't get anything out of the game, but the way we performed in the second half was pleasing."
The LA defeat was the third game in the last four in which Vancouver have failed to find the back of the net, a much different look to the free-flowing side that was banging in the goals earlier in the season.
"I can't really hit the nail on the head to be honest," Robinson admitted when asked why that was the case. "It's something we all need to work at. Whether you're a defender, or whether you're a player creating or a striker getting into areas where you can take the chances.
"We all need to take responsibility for that. I'll take responsibility for that. But we haven't scored in three of the [last] four games and we need to go back to the drawing board. You don't turn into a good team overnight and you don't turn into a bad team overnight, so we just need to get back to work."
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The Whitecaps now head back to Vancouver for a three-game homestand, with the Portland Timbers coming to BC Place next Saturday in a game that could have huge implications on the Western Conference playoff race. Vancouver remain in the fifth and final playoff spot with 33 points from 24 games, but Portland are only two points behind pending their Sunday game against the Seattle Sounders.
"Obviously we want to be at the top of the table, so does every team, but we're right in the mix in contention for the playoffs," Robinson said. "We've got a fantastic game ahead on Saturday against Portland Timbers, who are also right in the mix, and it's a challenge for us. Players want to play in big games, coaches want to manage big games, and we're going to have ten big games."