SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – It wasn't quite the hat-trick heroics of a year ago, but a single Kekuta Manneh goal on the stroke of halftime was enough to give Vancouver Whitecaps FC a crucial 1-0 win Friday night over Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson felt his side had gone into the game as underdogs, but he hailed their belief and resolve to get the three vital points to move back into a playoff position.
"To say I'm lost for words in an understatement," Robinson told reporters after the game. "I'm absolutely so proud of every single one of them today because not many people believed that we could win, but I did, 1,250 fans did and the group did, which is the most important thing. It's all down to the players today, and I give them all the credit."
That's three straight wins now for the 'Caps, who seem to be finding their form at just the right time of the season. It was also their second straight clean sheet, and it's that defensive aspect of the game that has perhaps pleased Robinson the most.
In both last week's 2-0 win over FC Dallas and Friday's victory over Seattle, Vancouver have scored their goals in the first half before killing the game off in the second and coming away with two relatively comfortable victories in the end.
"It's excellent discipline from them," Robinson said. "We can set it up for them and give them examples of what we want them to do, but when they cross the line it's up to them."
"The last three weeks they've taken the responsibility upon themselves. We've got a never say die attitude that they've instilled. I've given them guidelines and stuff like that, but it's all down to them."
The win saw Vancouver regain their one-point advantage over Portland Timbers in the battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, securing their second straight Cascadia Cup in the process.
There has been a clear turnaround in form for Vancouver since suffering a 3-0 defeat against the Timbers three weeks ago. So what has been behind their change in fortunes?
"Desire, determination, grit," Robinson said. "A will to win, a desire to win, you can call it what you want."
"I said jokingly we might need to score five because Seattle have been on fire throughout the season, especially in the recent few weeks. It took one goal. We're delighted we got it, but we've still got a lot of work to do. It puts us in a decent position. … Today was our day. We'll enjoy the moment, but we still have a lot of work to do."
Participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver! Save 12% on 2015 Whitecaps FC Season Tickets between September 26 and October 7. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, Student Half-Season Tickets, and a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket. Click here for more information on 2015 Season Tickets.