Vancouver Whitecaps FC head to Philadelphia to take on the Union on Saturday (4 p.m. PT; TSN) looking to set two new club records in the process.
The 'Caps are looking for an unprecedented third straight away victory and are currently on a six-match unbeaten streak in MLS, which matches their previous best.
Their opponents have had mixed form of late, with Philadelphia winning just three games so far all season. Only one of those came at home, and that was back on March 15 against New England, but despite their struggles, head coach Carl Robinson knows that Whitecaps FC can't afford to take the Union lightly.
“You can look at the schedule and think, right ok, we've got a few difficult games or we've got a few easy games,” Robinson told reporters at the Whitecaps' last training session before heading east. “Let me tell you. No game is easy.”
“So it depends how you look at it. There's not fear in the squad because we're playing well. Obviously we'll make them aware of how good Philadelphia are, because they are a good team. They haven't picked up the results they would want recently, but we've got to be fearful of them.
“But my players will never play with fear as long as I'm here and it's important that they go out and enjoy themselves because if they enjoy themselves, they express themselves, and if they express themselves, we play with a freedom and I think you see an excitement in their football.”
Philadelphia's 3-0 win at Chivas last Saturday ended a two-game losing streak that had seen the Union concede nine goals in those matches. That defensive frailty is something the ‘Caps will be looking to exploit with their fast and creative attacking players.
Erik Hurtado has hit four goals in his last four games in all competitions and is Vancouver's in-form striker right now and could link up with a fit-again Darren Mattocks, who saw some minutes late in Sunday's win in Portland after a recent hamstring injury.
It's a potent strikeforce that Robinson hopes will add to his side's six goals from their last two matches.
“It's important that they keep in a good frame of mind because after the result at the weekend it's important that we go in with confidence, which we will, but it's a difficult game.”
“They're coached very well with John [Hackworth]. He's brought a lot of young players through and the technical side of their team is very good, so we're going to have to make sure that we match that and we put our stamp of our attacking play on them.
“If we do that, then they've leaked goals. Having said that, we've leaked goals as well. I seem to be saying this every week that I'm sure there will be a lot of goals in the game. Hopefully there will be more for us than for them. It'll be a difficult game but one we're ready for.”
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($220), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.