VANCOUVER, BC – There were mixed emotions in Vancouver on Wednesday night after Whitecaps FC were held to a goalless draw at home to FC Dallas.
The result guaranteed the 'Caps a playoff spot for the second straight year, but it also saw a few key players go down with injuries.
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With Pedro Morales and Nicolas Mezquida already sidelined, the ‘Caps lost the influential Cristian Techera to a tight hamstring late in the match. He was quickly followed by Mauro Rosales, who was forced out with a groin injury.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson also revealed that he was down to the “bare bones” for his gameday squad, with some of those playing also carrying injuries and with defender Jordan Harvey playing on little sleep after becoming a father early on Wednesday morning.
“[Jordan] had three hours sleep but he wanted to play to help the club and help the team,” Robinson said. “I've got Pa [Modou Kah] whose groin is hanging off him, but wanted to play through the pain, and I've got Octavio [Rivero] who's got a sore Achilles. I've got great character in there.”
Robinson said he would know more about the status of these players later this week.
At any rate, the team’s squad depth will certainly be tested in upcoming weeks with road matches at FC Dallas and C.D. Olimpia (in the CONCACAF Champions League) coming up.
“It’s tough right now,” said goalkeeper David Ousted. “A lot of people are dropping and getting niggles and injuries. It’s definitely tough, it would be for any team having guys like Techera, Pedro Morales, and then Rosales injured.”
“It’s no excuse,” Ousted added. “Like I've said before, the guys coming in just need to step up. They’re here for a reason, they’re here because they’re good enough to be here and they get their chance now.”
As it stands, the third-place ‘Caps trail both FC Dallas and LA Galaxy by a single point in the Western Conference standings. Vancouver’s target this year has always been a home playoff game, and that is still within their hands. A top two finish is also still a possibility, though that would surely require a win in Dallas next week.
"I'm happy we're in the playoffs," Robinson told reporters after the match. "It's credit to every single player and staff member that we managed to get into a very tough, competitive Western Conference with two games to go."
“There's going to be a very good team that misses out in the Western Conference,” he continued. “If you miss out then obviously you'll be disappointed. I would have been disappointed, but we're not going to miss out. We're in the mix, which is all you can ask for to start with.”
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