Currently draw specialists, Carl Robinson's squad is still carving out its identity as an MLS outfit.VANCOUVER — Even before Wednesday night's game in Bridgeview, Illinois, most people were likely expecting a draw between Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Chicago Fire.
Both clubs have become the draw specialists in MLS this season, so the possibility of a stalemate was very likely at Toyota Park…and so it proved…
The 0-0 stalemate was Vancouver's fourth straight and the sixth in its last nine league games. If there is a silver lining, four of those six draws were on the road and in some difficult MLS venues.
While claiming points from every game is always an objective, each of the Whitecaps' last six draws were matches where victory could have been achieved — especially the last two games before the club's current break.
Be it defensive breakdowns or lack of goal production, an extra 12 points could have been banked by the 'Caps. If so, Vancouver would lead the Western Conference standings by three points from arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC.
Instead, Carl Robinson's side sits just outside the playoff spots in the West and likely facing a battle to secure a postseason berth for the reminder of its regular season campaign.
Methinks the former Wales international is not the only one who is "sick of draws" in the land of the Blue & White.
From a results point of view, it was not the July that Vancouver wanted, and that makes August an interesting phase of the 'Caps 2014 season.
For starters, a week remains in the summer transfer window for MLS clubs to acquire players from the global soccer market. Much speculation and debate has suggested either a striker, a centre back, or both are the Whitecaps' current transfer targets.
Whatever transfer business Vancouver is able to achieve in the next week, it will serve more as a kick-starter to a season that has stumbled slightly in recent weeks than a total solution to the club's current struggles on the pitch.MORE: Biggest summer transfers | Soccer's beautiful fans
Knowing Robinson's unwavering faith in his current squad of players, one area that needs addressing is attacking chemistry. In Chicago, the Fire had plenty of success defensively in dispossessing Vancouver's attackers when they tried to penetrate the home side's 18-yard box.
The Whitecaps also struggled to read each other's movements in the attacking third of the pitch at Toyota Park. In particular, playmaker Pedro Morales and striker Darren Mattocks struggled to find the same page after getting their wires crossed on several occasions.
Knowing your teammates and how they play is a baseline to fostering team chemistry in soccer. For the Whitecaps, perseverance and continued work on the training pitch should result in Vancouver's attack flourishing as it did earlier in the year.
The need for chemistry, goals, and solid defensive displays will all be needed during Whitecaps FC's challenging August schedule. It starts with their lone regular season meeting versus MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City at BC Place on August 10.
That is followed by back-to-back games at StubHub Center in Carson, California, versus Chivas USA (August 16) and LA Galaxy (August 23). The month concludes with a Cascadia Cup derby clash at home to Portland Timbers on August 30.
Four difficult games for Robinson's side, with the latter three being Western Conference six-pointers. It is a month that will go some way further to finding out what type of Whitecaps side this 2014 edition really is.
And while many will have thoughts on their plans over this August long weekend, Whitecaps fans will likely take a bit of time to reflect on what they believe will unfold with their beloved Blue & White in the second half of the season.