VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Whitecaps look to reinvigorate their Western Conference playoff push when Sporting Kansas City pay a visit to BC Place on Sunday (8 pm ET; TSN in Canada, MLS LIVE in USA).
A lot has been made of Vancouver's dip in form since the World Cup break -- 1 win, 2 losses, 5 draws since June 25 -- but underlying that is the fact that they have only lost two games in their last 15 MLS matches. In fact, their four total losses is tied with LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake for fewest in the league. These are stats that the Whitecaps feel have got a bit lost in their recent stretch.
"I think people are definitely looking more at the draws than that," goalkeeper David Ousted told reporters at training on Saturday. "We haven't lost a lot of games. That said, we know we can't draw our way into the playoffs. We need to win games."
"We probably should have won more games than we have done," head coach Carl Robinson said. "But we can't get them back. We can talk about it till midnight if you want, but there's no point in doing that. We've got 13 games to go and we've got to pick up a number of wins."
The next chance to do that for Vancouver comes in the shape of reigning MLS champions Sporting KC. The Whitecaps haven't lost to Eastern Conference opposition in 2014, and three of their six wins on the season have come against clubs from the other conference.
But Sporting KC are a whole different proposition.
For one, Vancouver have never beaten Peter Vermes's side in four tries since joining MLS in 2011. For another, Sporting are currently on an eight-match unbeaten run that includes five straight victories on the road. And while Vancouver have slipped in the table over the past six weeks, Sporting KC have jumped to the top of the Supporters' Shield standings.
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"We play Sporting KC. MLS Cup champs, four MLS All-Stars, probably a future coach of the men's national team in Peter," Robinson said. "They've got the strongest team in MLS at the moment arguably.
"It's going to be a great test for us, but it's a test we're ready for. It's a test that'll show whereabouts we are in relation. And it's a game I feel we can get a result out of. Not a draw, but a win."