FRISCO, Texas—The Vancouver Whitecaps were feeling the heat both on the pitch and from overhead at Toyota Stadium on Sunday.
While the scoreboard read 2-0 when the final whistle blew, the differential could have been more lopsided given the volume of chances created by hosts FC Dallas. It’s also nothing the Caps aren’t accustomed to – Vancouver has been outscored 16-3 in their last nine trips to Frisco, all of them losses.
“We wanted to be in the game at halftime, and we were,” said head coach Carl Robinson, citing Frisco as a difficult place to play in the summer due to the heat. “The disappointing thing in the second half is within two minutes, they managed to get their goal, and deservedly so.”
Robinson said despite the onslaught of chances posed by the hosts in the first half, the gameplan for the opening 45 minutes was a success given the deadlocked 0-0 halftime score.
But the war of attrition caught up with the visitors in the second frame. Robinson jokingly said all one can do in a game that kicks off at 99 degrees is “pray” everything will be alright. Fundamentally, they were not alright, conceding two quick goals and failing to generate many chances, finishing with only one shot on goal.
“I stood on the sideline, and I was sweating. And I didn’t have to run for 90 minutes and perform to those levels,” Robinson said. “I think Dallas handled the conditions a little bit better than us. I think if you train in it everyday, you get more used to it than our guys. It’s not like that up in Vancouver. It is what it is – no excuse.”
Heat or not, the Caps still find themselves resting on top of the red line, but not with much breathing room. Seventh-place Portland is only one point behind, with San Jose not too far after at four back, and the gap above them in the standings widening.
According to Robinson, the sense of urgency is there.
“It’s about getting on a run, as we all know,” Robinson said, referencing Portland’s successful run to MLS Cup last season. “We’ve got to be thereabouts. We’ve got to hit form at some stage. We’ve been a little bit too inconsistent this year. You’re not going to win games if you keep making mistakes, and the mistakes are costing us a little bit at the moment.”
Vancouver didn’t make too many of those mistakes early against FC Dallas on Sunday. But they made enough of them by the end of the match to force Robinson to concede which side was more dominant.
“They were the better team. They deserved to win the game today – credit to them,” Robinson said. “There’s a reason they’ve gone  games unbeaten at home.”