Carl Robinson could not hide the obvious, so he didn’t bother to try.
The Vancouver coach (8-9-5, 29 points) knows that his Whitecaps are definite underdogs, and in danger of being badly overmatched, as they prepare to visit New York City FC (13-5-4, 43 points) at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
“Obviously everyone will expect them to beat us,” Robinson told reporters after a training session this week. “But me and my group will be positive. We’ll be ready for the challenge.”
The Whitecaps have won just two of their past six Major League Soccer games, but they are coming off an impressive 4-2 home victory over Minnesota United last weekend. To earn three points Saturday, Robinson’s crew will try to do what no other club has done this season: Beat the Pigeons in the Bronx, where they are 10-0-1.
The Caps will have to excel without captain Kendall Waston, who will serve a one-game suspension for yellow-card accumulation, and midfielder Efrain Juarez, who has two games remaining on his three-match ban for bumping an official. Midfielders Jordon Mutch (foot) and Aly Ghazal (leg) are out with injuries.
Meanwhile, the Pigeons will play without striker David Villa, who faces an automatic one-game suspension for missing the MLS All-Star game after being selected. Villa missed the All-Star contest after recently coming off the team’s injured list.
The Pigeons had won four in a row before falling 3-1 in Seattle on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how the Pigeons respond following a trip home from the West Coast. New York coach Domenec Torrent, who joined the club in June after predecessor Patrick Vieira moved to French squad Nice, is not a fan of the MLS tendency to pack games into a week.
“I’m very proud of my players because it’s not easy,” Torrent, a former assistant at Manchester City, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, told reporters. “I don’t have to make an excuse — it’s a fact. We have a big problem in MLS if you want to play with balance. It’s not fair to play in three days, two games. ... But OK, this is MLS.”
—Field Level Media