Cavallini - with kids

The 'Caps are back to work this week after a number of the players and coaches made a quick trip to Vancouver to see their families.

It wasn't much of a respite - the team arrived home during the wee hours of Monday morning, following their Sunday night match in Southern California and a layover to drop off a few passengers and cargo in Portland.

After spending two nights in Vancouver, the squad travelled back to Portland on Wednesday and went straight to training that evening.

An arduous itinerary, but well worth it for those precious few hours spent to get their minds off the grind and to be with family.

"Just to go home and recharge your batteries. The two days off were very important, especially after the three games in nine days. The mental recovery, the physical recovery, and not having to go in again. It gives us a little bit more strength," said head coach Marc Dos Santos.

Lucas Cavallini, a father of three, spoke glowingly about seeing his children. 

"When I walk in that door, it's like lifting up the trophy," said the 'Caps star striker. "The goodbyes are tough. Time goes by fast and you spend as much time as you can, but three days are not enough. But at least we get to see them. It's been hard. At the end of the day, you got to make it worth something."

And that's exactly what Dos Santos' message is to his team: make it all worth something.

"If we're going through all of this, we have to try to make it count," said Dos Santos. "And for us, making it count is step one, can we be in the playoffs? So we are very focused and everybody on the team wants it."

It has been over a month since the team left Vancouver to head out on the road and set up their temporary home in Portland. Prior to that, there was the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, and the first phase of the Canadian series out east. Before the pandemic hit, the team spent parts of the preseason in San Diego and Portland.

Counting preseason, the MiB Tournament, and the regular season, the 'Caps would play only four games out of 30 at BC Place.  

"We feel this year didn't exist. We feel that we've been away all the time. And we haven't been home and always at a hotel. The sacrifices that everybody has put in brings us to think that this only makes sense if we make it count. It only makes sense if we make something big out of this and we hope that we're going to be able to achieve something. That's our objective."

Cavallini hopes to duplicate that winning feeling at home with the group on the road.

"I want that same feeling here with the club. We have two families, the one at home and our family here, so I want that same feeling I get when I arrive in my house." 

The next task at hand if the 'Caps are able to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs is a rematch with San Jose Earthquakes, a side they faced just over two weeks ago and is right above them in the standings.

"It's important because we're three points away from them," said Dos Santos. "This game becomes very important because I think San Jose is going to be a direct competitor to finish in that final eight." 

"All this time away from home, the sacrifices we're making, we have to make the best out of it. I don't want to go home emptyhanded, I want to go home to my family with something that really showed what everything meant for me and my teammates. That's going to depend on us and depends on how how badly we want it."

The 'Caps and the Quakes battle it out at Providence Park on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. PT live on TSN1/4 and TSN Radio 1040.