Whitecaps hope to break through vs. Fire

After six straight games without a loss, the Vancouver Whitecaps are suddenly heading in the wrong direction.

Vancouver, which hosts the Chicago Fire on Saturday at BC Place, has been shut out by Philadelphia and Colorado in its past two games.

“Performance was very good, what we didn’t do was execute in both boxes,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said, according to the league website, after a 1-0 loss to the Rapids at home on Sunday. “I said that after the game and watching it back two more times, it’s exactly the same and worse. We’ve created enough chances to win three games, never mind one game, and unfortunately we come out on the wrong end of some bad luck.”

The Whitecaps (6-7-5) got 10 of 25 shots on target but could not get one past Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard.

“We created chances time and time again, and we dominated the ball,” Robinson told the Vancouver Sun. “Every time we’ve dominated the ball this year, we’ve lost.”

On Saturday, Vancouver will be without midfielder Cristian Techera, who was suspended for three games because of offensive language in the Whitecaps’ 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on June 23.

Like Vancouver, the Fire (6-7-5) sit in sixth place, just above the playoff cut line.

But Chicago arrives in Vancouver on a different recent trajectory.

The Fire’s 3-2 win over New York City FC last week was its fifth straight game without a loss.

The win, Chicago’s third against the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, lifted it out of seventh place.

“Finally, we passed that red line and then now we just stand above and in the group for the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean anything for one week,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We have to stay consistent, we have to keep working, building on top of what we would be assembling right now actually, and that’s the confident group that can adapt and adjust to any demand of the game and be smart and trying to be smart and lucky and that’s what it is. That’s how it works.”

Chicago, which has never won in Vancouver, has two players who know something about winning at BC Place.

Tony Tchani and Christian Dean make their first return to their former stomping grounds as members of the opposition.

The teams come in with similar statistics this season.

Chicago has scored 27 goals, Vancouver 26. Both teams have 80 shots on goal. The Whitecaps have surrendered 35 goals, the Fire 31.