Whitecaps looking for confidence boost in Champions League match vs. Sporting KC | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Whitecaps looking for confidence boost in Champions League match vs. Sporting KC

Vancouver Whitecaps' head coach Carl Robinson argues a call with an official during the first half of an MLS soccer game against the Chicago Fire in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 11, 2016. With his team battling for its Major League Soccer playoff life, Whitecaps head coach Robinson was asked if Tuesday nights' CONCACAF Champions League match was a distraction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
August 22, 2016 - 6:00 AM

VANCOUVER - With his team battling for its Major League Soccer playoff life, Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson was asked if Tuesday nights' CONCACAF Champions League match was a distraction.

"Can I talk to you Wednesday?" Robinson replied.

A win against Sporting Kansas City at BC Place Stadium might help the Whitecaps pull out of their recent nosedive. A loss would be another leak in a ship that is already taking on water.

"It's a game of football," said Robinson. "We want to try to win any game we play.

"Winning breeds confidence. At the moment we need to increase our confidence level individually and collectively across the board."

The Whitecaps were beaten 2-0 by Kansas City on Saturday night at Children's Mercy Park to extend their MLS losing streak to four games. Vancouver (8-12-6) is eighth in the MLS Western Conference with 30 points, two behind the Portland Timbers who hold the sixth and final playoff spot.

While the Champions League match is a different priority for Robinson, his team still faces many of the same problems. Vancouver has scored just one goal in the last five MLS games while allowing eight.

"If you're not going to score goals, you're not going to win games," said Robinson. "We need to address that, whether it's personnel change or a system change, we will. We've just got to get back to work."

A positive note is the Whitecaps currently lead their Champions League group after a 1-0 victory over Central FC of Trinidad and Tobago earlier this month.

Both Vancouver and Kansas City are expected to change up their lineups for Tuesday night. That will allow players like midfielder Russell Teibert, who has seen limited action lately, to make the case for more playing time.

"It could be useful for guys like me," said Teibert. "You use those games to an advantage."

Robinson will evaluate how his players perform in the two games against Kansas City and that will help determine his lineup for Vancouver's stretch run.

"When you get a chance to play, you have to take that chance," he said. "If you play well, you stake your claim to play in that lineup."

Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City's head coach, said using different players means a different approach to the game.

"We'll have to go in with another plan," he said. "We know they have an excellent team.

"They are always very good on the counter and it's something we will have to be very aware of going into their place."

Forward Jacob Peterson said Kansas City can't head into Vancouver over confident from Saturday's win.

"They are two very different games," said Peterson, who scored in the 39th minute against the Whitecaps.

"On any given day teams can beat each other. It's more of us having the right mindset. Whoever is selected has to make sure they show up and put in another good performance."

The CONCACAF Champions League is a 24-team competition between the top clubs from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Vancouver gained a berth in the tournament by winning last year's Amway Canadian Championship.

Vancouver plays in Group C with Central FC and Kansas City. The teams play each other once at home and away. The group winner advances to the knockout stage, starting early next year.

The tournament winner qualifies for the annual FIFA Club World Cup, where they compete against the top teams from Asia, Africa, South America, Oceana, and Europe.

Midfielder Andrew Jacobson said despite the recent losses, Vancouver has been in most games.

"We've had moments where we were playing well, we just didn't get a lot of bounces our way," he said. "We have a lot to build off.

"We focus on being very aggressive, keep moving forward."

Robinson said a win Tuesday would build confidence as Vancouver battles for a playoff spot.

"We don't need to play brilliant," he said. "We don't need to play perfect.

"In the games we have lost his year we have played really well. And in the games we have won we haven't played as well. It's about finding a way to win. If you find a way to win, confidence slowly starts coming up."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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