Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Like Going to Azerbaijan': Whitecaps Visit Orlando after Gruelling Travel Day

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Like Going to Azerbaijan': Whitecaps Visit Orlando after Gruelling Travel Day

Article excerpt

Tired Whitecaps set to visit Orlando City SC


Before his Vancouver Whitecaps even stepped on the pitch Wednesday against the Seattle Sounders, head coach Carl Robinson already had one eye on the team's next match -- and was dreading it.

Not because of the opponent, but rather the long trek just to get there.

"(It's) like going to Azerbaijan," Robinson joked of Saturday's game at Orlando City SC. "It's a nightmare."

Now, getting from Vancouver to central Florida isn't quite the same as venturing to Baku on the shores of the Caspian Sea. However, the roughly 12-hour, door-to-door travel day flying commercial with a layover in Houston was always going to be a challenge.

And when factoring in it will be the Whitecaps' third game in eight days against a rested and desperate team fighting for its playoff life, the task becomes even more difficult.

Just don't tell that to the players.

"We're going in there to win. I'll say it straight out," said goalkeeper David Ousted. "We've been good at going away from home and taking those games head on."

Vancouver (10-9-5) enters the weekend occupying the sixth and final playoff spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference after defeating the Houston Dynamo 2-1 last Saturday before battling back with 10 men to tie Seattle 1-1 and grab four of a possible six points from the two-game homestand.

The Whitecaps are just six back of the Sounders, who sit atop the crowded West standings, with anywhere from one to three games in hand on four of the five teams ahead of them in the table.

They're also just two points up on seventh-place San Jose, although the Earthquakes have played two more games.

"We feel full of energy," said Vancouver striker Fredy Montero, who has 11 goals on the season and five in his last five games. "If you feel tired, you just talk to the coach and the other guy's going to step in and do the best that he can."

Robinson made just one change against Seattle from the Houston game, but promised to pepper his starting 11 against Orlando (8-10-7) with new faces after the Whitecaps looked flat in the first half against the Sounders.

"There will be players playing in different positions," said Robinson. …

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