COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – After starting their four-game road trip with a 2-1 loss to Cascadia Cup rivals Portland, the Vancouver Whitecaps are now on a bit of a roll, with two wins in two road matches, following Friday night’s 1-0 win over hosts Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
“It’s important,” Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson said of his team’s current road form. “The league is very tight and we know that, so it’s important to get points on the board when you can. Three games ago, we played very well against Portland and got no points. You go through runs. We’re in a decent run at the moment. We’re playing well. Irrelevant of points, we’re playing very, very well.”
The victory marked the first at Colorado in Robinson’s tenure as manager for Vancouver, with the franchise last recording their first and only road win previously against the Rapids back in July of 2012.
“People kept asking me about it today and it actually made me a bit sick of it, to be honest,” said Robinson. “But I had to smile and say, ‘Yeah, I think we’ll get there one day.’ Because I firmly believed we could.”
Robinson did cite a full team effort and a well-executed game plan as additional reasons behind Friday night’s win in Colorado.
“We’ve usually given away early goals here at Colorado,” he explained. “They’re a good team, and when they get on top, they’re able to manage the conditions and the pitch as well. We didn’t want that to happen, we didn’t let it happen and we took advantage.”
Ask coaches and players around the league, and they’ll cite travel as one of the biggest challenges in MLS. With his team having logged well over 3,000 miles of air travel during their current road swing, from Portland to Montreal and now Colorado, Robinson knows that challenge all too well.
“It’s very hard,” he said. “You go from being the best thing to the worst thing overnight. So my idea on it is you don’t become a bad coach and you don’t become a good coach overnight. I think if you put the hours in, like the players, you get the rewards out.”
So what’s the secret behind the team’s current road success?
“If I knew it, I wouldn’t be able to tell you,” he joked.
Robinson’s players divulged a bit more.
“I think we’re just not scared of anybody,” said Whitecaps defender Sheanon Williams. “I think we go into every game with a mindset to win, and I think that’s been a huge part of our success this year; just not backing down from teams.”