VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The Vancouver Whitecaps' playoff hopes were dealt a blow by their fierce rivals from down the road at B.C. Place on Saturday night.
The Whitecaps were trailing by two goals heading into first-half stoppage time before Kei Kamara gave them hope with his 12th goal of the season, but despite taking the game to the Seattle Sounders for a lot of the second half, Seattle held on for a 2-1 victory, extending their record-setting winning streak to nine matches and putting a stop to the 'Caps unbeaten run at six.
"Sometimes in football, you don't get what you deserve," Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson told reporters after the match. "I thought we were the better team. I'm not avoiding the fact that Seattle have fantastic players in key areas and they punished us for two mistakes of ours early on. Yes we got ourselves in a hole, but we should have been ahead prior to that. We should have got back into the game."
The Whitecaps were left to rue their many missed opportunities, out-shooting the Sounders 21 to 7, along with hitting the post and having a chance cleared off the line.
But all that mattered was the final scoreline and the defeat leaves them remaining outside the playoff picture looking in, four points behind both of their Cascadian rivals, who occupy the two places above them in the table.
"We should have won that game today, but we lost it and we have to accept it, and we will," Robinson added. "It's not great. It's not ideal. It's disappointing against a rival. But I can't ask them to do any more apart from put the ball in the back of the net myself and maybe not play square balls along the edge of the box."
The defeat will be doubly disappointing for the Whitecaps with results elsewhere very much going in their favor.
With Portland losing to Houston, and Real Salt Lake dropping two points at home to Minnesota, the door was open for Vancouver to climb closer to the top six of the West and stake a claim to be real postseason contenders.
At a time of the season where help from other teams plays an important part, it counts for little if they can't get the job done themselves.
"Well prior to this game we took 14 out of 18 points, so the team was getting the job done," Robinson said. "We weren't clean enough in both boxes. We didn't get the job today done based upon points. Performance-wise they were excellent. I won't fault their performance.
"What you can fault me on is not getting any points today, and that's where I'll give Seattle credit. Find a way to win. That's what I keep getting told, and credit to them that they've done that."
With time running out, and just six matches of the regular season remaining, the 'Caps are into "must-win" territory every week from here on in, and Robinson's message to his squad is a simple one.
"Play like that," Robinson stated. "Play like that and we'll be fine. We've got a couple of home games, a couple of away games. [Other] results went for us in a certain way. We can control what we can control, and that's our games. I don't really care about teams, I really don't.
"If we get our job done, and we get enough points to get into the playoffs, we deserve to be there. If we don't, we don't. That's all I can control."