VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps' home woes continued upon their return to BC Place after five games on the road. The home fans went home unhappy as Vancouver went down in a tough 1-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City.
It wasn't a happy homecoming, as the loss was the Whitecaps' fourth home defeat of the season in what was previously a fortress-like environment in Vancouver.
While any home loss hurts, the nature of this one stung the 'Caps even more after a dominating opening period to the match saw Vancouver create numerous chances through Octavio Rivero and Cristian Techera and saw a Tim Parker header cleared off the line.
But it was a familiar story for the Whitecaps as chance after chance wasn't taken and they were ultimately made to pay.
"It hurts," head coach Carl Robinson admitted after the match. "It's one of them. You create a number of chances and don't score. Sometimes it comes back to bite you on the bum and it did today unfortunately."
It's a familiar situation for Vancouver the past two seasons. They're an exciting and creative force in attack but their finishing lets them down. That can prove costly as it did tonight. Robinson admitted it's a concern, but took some solace from the way his team played.
"[It's] not as concerning as it would be if we didn't create one chance in that first half," Robinson added. "The game's about taking your chances. When you cross that white line, whoever takes those chances and scores usually wins the game. Today, we had a number of chances, we didn't take them. KC had a lot of chances and they took one of them.
"I'm concerned because we lost but I'm not concerned because we are creating chances. We need to take them. We need to be better at that and I told the group that. You can't keep playing well in games and not taking chances, like we did today."
After soaking up the initial pressure, Sporting Kansas City settled in to the game and started to win the midfield battles. The pace dropped as a result, taking out Vancouver's fast wing play and short passes and suiting the visitors down to the ground.
"I think from the first minute they wanted to play at that pace," Robinson mused. "They did and they were allowed to do it, which shouldn't be allowed [by us[ but they were. Credit to them today. They weathered the storm, especially in the first 45 minutes, and then when you don't take a chance, you're open to a half chance.
"They scored with really their first clear cut chance of the game. Then the dynamics of the game changed but the gameplan continued, slowness and things like that, but it's a tough one to swallow today."
Just to rub more salt into the Whitecaps' wounds, other results had once again gone in Vancouver's favour this week and a win against KC would have seen them put a little bit of daylight between themselves and the chasing pack, something they've been unable to capitalize upon all season. As it stands, Vancouver remains in a three-way tie with FC Dallas and Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders.
"It would [be nice to build gap] ," Robinson admitted. "Do you not think the Portland and the Seattle journalists ask the same question of Sigi and Caleb? I'm sure they did. It's going to be nip and tuck between now and the end of the year, without a doubt.
"We're still building. We know where are. We need to be better, I need to be better, and we will be better. A lot of things need to be better after today."