Vancouver Whitecaps FC have clocked up over 14,000 kilometres to play their first two road games of the new MLS season. As tiring and time consuming as the trips to Chicago and Orlando may have been, the 'Caps will feel it's all been worthwhile after taking the maximum six points from the two matches.
After Octavio Rivero's 86th-minute winner in the 1-0 win over Chicago last Saturday, Vancouver left it even later this week and it was Rivero again who did the damage, with a 96th-minute header to give the 'Caps a 1-0 victory in their first meeting with Orlando City.
The goal continued the Uruguayan striker's goal-a-game record since his move to MLS in the offseason and despite leaving it late once again, the win was no more than Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson felt his side deserved.
"I thought we played very well at times in the first half and we probably should have been ahead," Robinson told Vancouver's TSN 1410 radio after the game. "In the second half we knew they'd put us under pressure and I asked them just to show a little bit of character. If you show character you usually get your rewards and today we did."
"Was it smash and grab? I'll have to look at it again. They had a couple of chances in the second half and David [Ousted] made a fantastic save. Every manager will want to win comfortably and 3 or 4-nil, but in this league that doesn't happen."
What was particularly pleasing to Robinson in the win was Vancouver's second straight clean sheet and the defensive work of not just his back four, but his entire team, in shutting down the threats from Kaká and company.
Robinson was quick to praise Uruguayan centre back Diego Rodriguez in particular, who was handed his first ever MLS start, as the 'Caps coach once again showed he isn't one to shy away from mixing up his lineup.
"That's the confidence I have in my group," Robinson said. "People may say I'm silly, or stupid if I can use that word, but I've got faith in every single one of my players. When I feel the time's right I'll put them in."
"It was fully justified today because he's [Rodriguez] been training fantastically. He's now getting up to speed and full fitness. He put in a commanding performance today."
But amid the strong defensive showing, Vancouver suffered the second half loss of young left back Sam Adekugbe after he was stretchered off with what the club confirmed to be "severely bruised ribs" following a collision on the deck with Orlando City goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
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