Facing rough stretch of games, Vancouver Whitecaps' Carl Robinson plans to utilize team depth

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Carl Robinson is a firm believer that you have a squad of players for a reason.

And with a busy spell of matches coming up for Vancouver Whitecaps, the first-year head coach has indicated that the majority of his squad will see some time on the pitch over the next few weeks.

The Whitecaps have six games in a 26-day period in July. Four of them are Western Conference clashes with potential playoff implications at stake. Sandwiched in between those are two lengthy midweek trips east.

It starts when an in-form Chivas USA come to town for a Saturday matchup (10 pm ET; TSN2 in Canada, MLS Live in US) before a two-game road trip to Toronto and Real Salt Lake over the next week.

It provides a dilemma in choosing players while factoring in which points are the most crucial.

"It's a tricky one because points are points at the end of the day," Robinson told reporters at training. "Obviously, we've got Toronto in between Chivas and Salt Lake, so it's going to be interesting to see how we decide to manage it.

"We don't want to give points away. We want to pick up as many as we can, but we have to see what's the best way to approach these three games moving forward.”

He noted that it helps to have a young and healthy squad at his disposal.

“If I think it's right to rotate it to get results in all games, then that's what I'll do,” Robinson said. “Obviously, I then have to get the results. So that'll be the big question."

Chivas, unbeaten in four and on a three-game winning streak, are Vancouver's main focus for now. How that game goes will dictate Robinson's plans for the coming matches.

"Saturday's the big game," Robinson said. "It's the most important game for us at the moment. I've got my plans set up for Wednesday and Saturday. I'm not going to tell you them because some things can change. But if we focus on Saturday and get the result on Saturday, which I hope we can, which I know we can, then we'll lead into Toronto and we'll look at the situation then."

With all that said, Robinson would also like to have some consistency in his team as the Whitecaps enter into the second half of the season. None more so than in his defense, which started off the season with a stable back four before recent injuries and international duty took their toll.

Veteran center back Andy O'Brien is back training after missing the last two games, but Robinson would not commit to him regaining his starting place for Saturday and disrupting the pairing of Carlyle Mitchell and Johnny Leveron, who did well against Seattle last weekend.

The Whitecaps coach also has his eye on the future and is keen to get minutes for first-round draft pick and center back Christian Dean and Homegrown left back Sam Adekugbe.

"Players will get chances,” Robinson said. “Not just this week but in the coming weeks ahead as well we've got a lot of games coming up. Dependent on form, dependent on resting players, dependent on what I think is right for certain opposition, I'm sure those two guys will get their chance especially."

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