VANCOUVER, B.C. - It's been a difficult week for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The joy of opening their new training facility on Wednesday has been overshadowed by injuries to key players Kendall Waston and Christian Bolanos while away on international duty, and the arrest and subsequent suspension of right back Sheanon Williams.
It was a depleted Whitecaps squad that took to the pitch against FC Dallas on Saturday night, and when the visitors went ahead through a 52nd-minute Maxi Urruti goal, it looked like a long way back for the 'Caps, but the introduction of Alphonso Davies and the play of Cristian Techera revived their fortunes.
The latter fired home a stunning free kick with 16 minutes remaining to claim a share of the spoils for the 'Caps in a 1-1 draw, bringing some joy to a week that 'Caps coach Carl Robinson was glad to see come to an end.
"I just said to the guys in there, it has been a very difficult week," Robinson admitted. "Our thoughts are with everyone involved, but we had a game of football today to win, to try and climb up that table. The boys responded very well after going a goal down.
"So credit to them. It's a real big point for us against a good team. Sometimes you forget they've won the Conference the last two years in a row. We knew it would be a tough game with the players we had missing but a great response after going a goal down."
In years past, Whitecaps heads have gone down when falling behind, but there certainly seems a different spirit in the 'Caps camp this season, with a couple of comebacks now under their belt and a squad that shows they will compete for the full 90 minutes.
"Just a little bit of belief from them," Robinson explained regarding the current mentality on the field. "We work on it. We don't mean to go a goal down. That happens and I think we have our best period of play. The first half was pedestrian by us.
"Second half, the first 15 minutes, I thought we played very well. We played on the front foot. One little error and Maxi scores a good goal, then you're chasing a little bit. Great response and we wanted to try and nick a winner in the end."
The response also pleased goalkeeper David Ousted, who praised the team's mentality to come out and put in a performance like that with all that's gone on off the pitch this week.
"I’m very happy with this team’s mental character of going out after the week we’ve had," Ousted said after the match. "Everybody showed they were willing to step up and do the dirty work today, which was necessary. With everything that’s happened, we kind of knew that that’s what was needed to be done today and getting a point out of this after going 1-0 down is something we can be happy with."