Whitecaps look to build on winning debut
Whitecaps midfielder Pedro Morales (77) celebrates after scoring a goal against New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles (not pictured) during the second half at BC Place. The Vancouver Whitecaps won 4-1, Mar 8, 2014; Vancouver, B.C. (Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)
Repeating a performance like they did last Saturday won't be easy, but that's not exactly what the Vancouver Whitecaps are aiming for.
When they head into Los Angeles on Sunday to face Chivas USA, the key word for the 'Caps will be "maintain." That is, keep doing all the right things.
"The players showed on Saturday what they are able to do, full credit to them, they deserved that result," head coach Carl Robinson said Wednesday. "My job now is to make sure we're consistent because we can't be that good one week and then poor the next week.
"We're going to have tough games, I know that. But when we have tough games, we roll up our sleeves and fight and show character. If we can do that then we'll be in a good place."
Offensively, the Whitecaps scored four goals — tied for the most in the opening week — but that wasn't the only thing that stood out for some players.
For veteran centre back Andy O'Brien, what he liked was the club's hard work — especially from another off-season addition, defensive midfielder Matias Laba.
"Guys are getting applauded for the goals that they scored and the entertaining style that we've started with, but the work ethic and the defensive side of things may be going a little unnoticed," said the former Ireland international. "Laba was superb and from the back four, back five's perspective, having him in there has been a big benefit for us as well."
One of the low points for the club against the New York Red Bulls came in added time when they couldn't keep the clean sheet, giving up a late goal after some miscommunication. That was disappointing, said Robinson, adding it could also be a good thing moving forward.
"Maybe I can (use it) to give them a kick in the backside for that one goal," he said.
What the Whitecaps will be up against Sunday will be different than a roster-depleted Red Bulls side.
For starters, it'll be on the road, and they'll also be facing a team coming off a big opening week win as Chivas — who will be rebranded following this season — were 3-2 winners over the Chicago Fire.
The Goats, led by new coach Colombian Wilmer Cabrera, finished dead last in the Western Conference last year but like the ‘Caps are off to a positive start.
"I want to try to put my stamp on the team whether we're home or away," Robinson said. “Obviously it depends on who you're playing against, but we'll go into the game knowing what they're about. But it's about us, it's about what we do, and if we go into the game like we did last Saturday then I'm sure we'll have no problems."