HIGHLIGHTS: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Portland Timbers | November 8, 2015

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Whitecaps had to wait five years for their first716748145" tabindex="0"> home playoffs game. But under Carl Robinson's continued building of the team and development of young talent, it's unlikely to be that long before another one comes around.


Vancouver's season came to an end with a whimper rather than a bang on Sunday night. Their goal-shy attack struggled once again en route to crashing out of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs with a 2-0 defeat to their Cascadian arch-rivals, the Portland Timbers, in Leg 2 of their Western Conference Semifinals series.


It was a disappointing evening for the home side, as the match at BC Place ended a season that generated a real buzz and prom716748146" tabindex="0">ised so much for a team that sat at the top of the standings for several months. It was certainly a year that the 'Caps coach sees as an important stepping-stone for future success.



"I'm proud of them because they've achieved a number of firsts this year," Robinson told reporters after Sunday's loss. "There's a lot of positives. That gives us a little taste and a sample of what we can do if we can continue to build and continue to get positive results."


Vancouver had a stellar regular season and Robinson is keen to make sure that isn't forgotten in the aftermath of their bitter playoffs exit.

The Whitecaps recorded their highest-ever finish in MLS, coming second in the West and third overall. They ended the season with their highest-ever points total and highest-ever number of overall wins. They lifted their first-ever Canadian Championship in August and competed in their first CONCACAF Champions League campaign. All in all, it was a good season. 


But that's already in the past. The focus now for Vancouver is continuing to improve. When the bar is set high, it gets tougher every year. So what does Robinson need to do now to take his side that step further and up to the next level?


"That's the million-dollar question," Robinson mused. "The reason that strikers are paid so much money in this game is that they're able to put the ball in the back of the net. We haven't been able to do that. Not just for tonight, but for a number of games this year."



"That's something that I'll have to go back to the drawing board with my staff in the off-season," he continued, "and try and bring some more goals. Ultimately, it's cost us a little bit, especially tonight, but sometimes you've got to take it on the chin."


The Whitecaps know they need to solve their goal-scoring issues next season. Having one of the best defenses in MLS can only take you so far, as Vancouver learned to their peril this post-season.


Still, the club proved to be a formidable force in the league and has a solid group of young players that will only learn from this playoffs loss. 


"I'm proud of the team," said veteran midfielder Mauro Rosales after Sunday's match. "A lot of positive things, a lot of positive players coming up, doing a very good job. High levels all season for many of our players. We just wait for next year now."