Techera thumbs up - Montreal
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Three things: 'Caps claim first road win of 2017 in impressive fashion

MONTREAL, QUE – Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated Canadian rival Montreal Impact 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo to earn their first road win of 2017.

Here are three things that stood out to me.

STICKING TO HIS GUNS

Carl Robinson stuck to his guns – and it paid off.

Coming into Saturday’s match vs. Montreal Impact, the ‘Caps head coach had fielded 11 different starting lineups in 11 matches to start the 2017 season.

Not necessarily by choice, he would tell you.

In addition to form, lineups are dictated by a number of different things, such as injuries. The ‘Caps, for example, had 10 different players sidelined due to injury on Saturday. Every single player who was healthy made the 18-man gameday roster.

But after going toe-to-toe with Portland Timbers in a 2-1 loss last weekend, Robinson fielded an identical starting XI in Montreal once again featuring a 4-1-4-1 formation and a central midfield trio of Matias Laba, Andrew Jacobson and Tony Tchani.

And this time, it produced the performance and the result.

“Last week, I think we played very well against an in-form Portland team,” Robinson told reporters after the match. “We wanted to replicate that performance today and I think we did, especially in the first half; some of our football was outstanding.”

It sure was.

THE “RIGHT” MIX

Several ‘Caps turned in standout performances on Saturday, but this game was won on the right side.

On the back line, Kendall Waston and right back Sheanon Williams managed to contain Impact superstar left winger Ignacio Piatti for most of the match, with Williams recording a game-high six tackles. His five clearances were also second to only Waston on the afternoon.

On the right side of midfield, Andrew Jacobson may have played his best game in a Whitecaps FC uniform, scoring a stunning volley in the first half and setting up Vancouver’s game-winner with a nice left-footed throughball in the second. Much like last week, the new formation afforded Jacobson the freedom to get forward – and that’s exactly what he did.

A little further up the field, right winger Cristian Techera was buzzing all match – as bugs do. He created two chances with his delivery, completed a game-high four dribbles, and scored the game-winner in the 79th minute with what Robinson referred to as a moment of magic.

The “right” mix? You could say that.

WINNING MENTALITY

All week long, the ‘Caps talked about the mentality of playing to win – rather than playing not to lose – away from home. And they certainly walked the talk on Saturday afternoon. In fact, they had more possession against Montreal than they had in any other match this season.

OPPONENT

POSSESSION

@ Montreal

48.47 %

@ Portland

47.81 %

@ RSL

47.72 %

vs. LA

45.91 %

vs. Philadelphia

45.65 %

vs. Toronto

41.91 %

vs. Seattle

38.51 %

@ San Jose

22.25 %

As you can see, they also had a lot of the ball last week vs. Portland.

It may be a little more difficult to play on the front foot in Colorado and Houston, where Vancouver are headed the next two weeks, but the ‘Caps appear to be developing a winning mentality on the road.

And it’s sure fun to watch.