The head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps doesn’t believe his team got what they deserved on Saturday night.
“I thought we were the better team,” Carl Robinson said after the ‘Caps were beaten 2-1 by the Seattle Sounders.
The victory extended Seattle’s win streak to a club-record nine games.
Sounders (13-5-9) coach Brian Schmetzer admitted that the string of wins is impressive, but noted it will have to end at some point.
“We just didn’t want it to happen tonight,” he said.
The match had the atmosphere of a playoff battle, Schmetzer added.
“There was two teams that were desperate for a win,” he said. ”Vancouver had some chances. We were living dangerously. They had some chances at the end where they could have tied it up.”
The Whitecaps (11-8-9) out shot the Sounders 21 to 7, but several chances sailed just over the crossbar or hit the iron, bouncing out of play.
Vancouver missed the offensive spark of forward Yordy Reyna, who has eight points in his last five games, but sat out Saturday’s match on suspension.
The 24-year-old could have made the difference, Robinson said.
Games are won and lost in both boxes, he added, saying that his team needs to be cleaner and more clinical on both ends.
But the coach said his players showed character and heart by continuing to grind against a tough squad when they were down.
“We should have won that game today,” Robinson said. ”And we’ve lost it and we’ve got to accept it. And we will. It’s not great, it’s not ideal against a rival. But I can’t ask (my players) to do anything more.”
Both Seattle goals came from striker Raul Ruidiaz, who now has five goals and an assist since he signed with Seattle in late June.
“I’m really surprised by all of this,” the Peruvian national said after the match.
“I feel good physically, and I think that I’m getting better,” Ruidiaz added.
Vancouver’s goal came in injury time near the end of the first half, when Nicolas Mezquida sailed a corner kick to striker Kei Kamara, who headed the ball in.
Kamara leads his team in scoring with 12 goals this season.
The Sounders and Whitecaps are still battling for a spot in post-season play. The teams went into Saturday’s match separated by a single point in the MLS Western Conference, with Seattle in a playoff spot and Vancouver just out.
The ‘Caps still believe they have what it takes to get into the playoffs, said midfielder Russell Teibert.
“We can’t look at this game and say ‘We give up.’ We’ve got six games left and we’re right in contention,” he said.
Teibert, who’s in his eighth year with the club, said in order to make the post-season, the team will have to work on details, from decision making to knowing where someone is going to be before they get there.
They’ll also need to reset before next week’s game, which will see them take on FC Dallas, the top team in the Western Conference.
Teibert said his message for his teammates going into that match is simple: “Clear your mind, play smart, play with your heart and don’t look back, however many weeks from now and have any regrets or excuses.”
If the Whitecaps keep playing the way they did Saturday night, they’ll be “just fine,” Robinson said.
“If we get our job done and we get enough points to get in the playoffs, then we deserve to be there,” he said. ”And if we don’t, we don’t.”
Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso and Kelvin Leerdam received yellow cards for unsporting behaviour. Vancouver’s Kei Kamara and Russell Teibert also got warnings from the referee. … The Sounders’ win earned Seattle this year’s Cascadia Cup title. The trophy is handed out annually by the Sounders, Whitecaps and Portland Timbers supporters groups since 2004. It’s the fifth time Seattle has hoisted the hardware.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press