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Armed with a fully fit squad, head coach Carl Robinson must find the right starting XI combinations.

VANCOUVER — The rain might have returned to the west coast this week, but as Vancouver Whitecaps FC went through their paces in training at the University of British Columbia, things feel bright and positive with the Blue & White.

It certainly helps spirit in the camp if you are coming off a win over one of the best teams in MLS.

Everything about Sunday's 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City—Vancouver's first-ever league result versus the defending MLS Cup champions—was well deserved and could not have been more emphatic.

It was also an essential three points for the Whitecaps, who re-positioned themselves back in the Western Conference playoff spots with the weekend victory and facing three crucial games with rivals from the West, starting with Saturday night's trip to Southern California to take on Chivas USA.

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It is also a time in the season when the wear and tear of an MLS campaign has been known to take its toll through a pile-up of injuries and suspensions. With the stakes rising as each week of action goes by, such issues are far from ideal for any club in the league.

For the Whitecaps, however, head coach Carl Robinson has a fully fit squad from which to make his starting XI selections. Only youngsters Caleb Clarke and Andre Lewis - who were unlikely to see first-team this season - are currently on Vancouver's long-term casualty list.

It is the scenario that Robinson wanted when he took charge of the 'Caps. He made it clear he wanted competition for places in his starting XI, but to make that a reality, all of his players needed to remain fit and available for selection.

It's a great situation for the former Wales international to have, but a challenging scenario for his charges, especially the ones that are currently out of favour.

The common wisdom is that competition for places produces top performances within a squad. With 12 matches left in their regular season campaign, this might prove the difference in landing the 'Caps a postseason berth.

Having relied on his entire squad for contributions during his first season in charge, it was little surprise that Robinson reiterated that very point after Sunday's win over Sporting KC. What he needs to be mindful of is how his line-up selections are scrutinized by fans and media alike, especially if results are not forthcoming with this fully fit squad.

There has been little rotation in the Whitecaps goalkeeper and fullback positions this season, so while David Ousted, Steven Beitashour, and Jordan Harvey can feel assured of their starting roles, Robinson has to decide if he needs to do much tinkering with his centre backs.

For now, the combination of Johnny Leveron and Andy O'Brien is likely to get a run, despite Carlyle Mitchell performing admirably in all of his appearances of late and new signing Kendall Waston waiting in the wings for his chance to test himself on the MLS stage.

Should Gershon Koffie and Matias Laba make a habit of performing like they did last Sunday in their defensive midfield roles, they may each lock themselves in to those positions for the remainder of the season.

That leaves the attack and the variety of options at Robinson's disposal. The Whitecaps have benefited from Darren Mattocks' recent goalscoring run that has filled in for the lean spell that Erik Hurtado has endured of late, but the cog in the Whitecaps attacking wheel has unsurprisingly become Pedro Morales.

The Chilean's influence in becoming the conductor of Vancouver's attack cannot be understated. If the Whitecaps are to fulfill their 2014 goals, Morales will most likely be at the centre of helping the club achieve them. Such is his present value to Vancouver.

When you assess where the 'Caps are at present, there are plenty of indicators to suggest that the settled nature of Robinson's squad bodes well for the remaining 10-plus weeks still to be played in Vancouver's regular season schedule.

Take away the small bit of social media speculation regarding Nigel Reo-Coker's future, as we near the MLS Roster Freeze on September 15, and you get the sense there is plenty to look forward to in Whitecaps land.

A result over a pesky Chivas USA side would certainly raise hopes that the 'Caps are fully capable of fulfilling their well-documented potential.

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