Road points are often at a premium in Major League Soccer, which makes winning your home games all the more vitally important. It's a fact the Vancouver Whitecaps are fully aware of, and after dropping five points from their last two home matches, they know they need to make those up somewhere else.
They have a prime opportunity to do just that on Wednesday evening when they travel to Chicago (8:30 pm ET, MLS Live, TSN/RDS2 in Canada, match preview) to take on a struggling Fire side coming off of a 5-1 thumping by San Jose last week.
Wednesday's game is between MLS's two draw specialists. Chicago lead the league with 11 draws from their 19 matches, and Vancouver are right behind them with 10 ties – and their last three matches have all ended in draws, each time after taking the lead. Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson has other ideas on Wednesday.
"We'll be going to win. I'm sick of draws, if I'm honest, so we'll go and try and win the game," Robinson said. "I'm sick of them because we're so close to winning games, and I think we should have won more games than we've drawn."
Vancouver head into the game in the middle of a mini-slump, with just one win from their last eight matches. They can take some solace, though, from the fact that Chicago are faring even worse, with just one win from their last nine. It could be the perfect recipe to allow the Whitecaps to make up for those missed opportunities at home.
"It's very difficult to go away and get three points," Robinson said. "We're finding it very difficult to win at home and get three points at the moment. If [we] perform the same way as [we] did [against Dallas], then I have no worries that [we]'ll pick up points on the road. Not just in this game, but in the last games we've got."
The Whitecaps are unbeaten in their seven games against Eastern Conference opposition this season, with three wins and four draws, and have recorded back-to-back draws in their last two road games against difficult opposition in Toronto and Real Salt Lake.
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"We got some good draws there, but we need to be even more aggressive and try and see if we can get a win over some of these road games," goalkeeper David Ousted told reporters this week. "I think we're good enough to get those wins, and hopefully we'll get one in Chicago.
"It's been a tough month. We've had some good results, especially on the road. Hopefully we can build on that and get one more good result now. We're still looking for that crucial win that could put us over the hump. If we get that, then we're heading into some good months ahead."
After a hectic period of six games in July marked by plenty of travel, the Whitecaps will have a 10-day break after the Chicago match before they return to action. The brief time off is coming at just the right time for their coach.
"I'm looking forward to the break, if I'm honest," Robinson said. "The last time we had a break we were flying, and we've come back and we've won one in seven. After this game, I'm going to have another break, and hopefully we can come back and win seven out of seven."