VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC fell to their third home defeat of the season at BC Place on Saturday, going down 2-0 to Seattle Sounders FC in a fairly tame Cascadian derby.
After falling behind to a fifth minute goal from Chad Barrett, Vancouver struggled to break down a resolute Seattle defense and a visiting side who played a near-perfect road game after grabbing their early lead.
"First goals change games," Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson admitted to media after the match. "I couldn't fault the group. The way that we played the first half especially. To go in two-nil down at half time was difficult to take. The first goal was probably going to be the deciding factor."
"When you're playing a very good team, the first goal changes the game. We were able to play through them in the first half. In the second half, when the dynamic of the game has changed, they have the ball, they keep the ball. They've got some very good, experienced players who know how to manage the game and slow it, and they did."
Robinson has regularly held Seattle up as a club whose success he hopes to emulate in Vancouver, but another aspect of the Sounders play that he was keen to highlight was their ability to take the chances provided to them, with Seattle's two goals coming from their only two shots on target during the first half.
"I spoke all week about the reason why they are who they are and where they are is because they have four or five chances and they're able to score two or three goals," Robinson added. "We're not quite at that level yet. We have 10 or 15 chances and we scored none today. The good teams are able to do that and find a way and Seattle found a way today."
Both sides came into this game on the back of two very different results in MLS action. Vancouver were coming off a comfortable 3-0 win over Philadelphia last Saturday, while Seattle lost 3-2 on the road to Columbus.
Robinson pointed to the way that teams like Seattle are able to rebound from such losses as what his own side now need to learn to do to continue to challenge the best teams in the league, but didn't see the loss as any sort of a backwards step for his squad after their fine start to the season.
"I wouldn't say it's a step back," Robinson said. "You've got to take these on the chin now and again. You've got to have disappointment then to have excitement and elation. Today's a disappointment for us because it is our rivals but make no doubt about it, we know they're a good team."
"They're going to be there or thereabouts at the end of the year. We've got to make sure we are. We've just got to rebound. We're going to lose games this year. The good teams are able to bounce back."
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