Whitecaps' Carl Robinson defends 'cautious' tactics in first leg vs. Seattle

Vancouver Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson defended his team's "cautious" tactics in the goalless first leg of their playoff clash with the rival Seattle Sounders on Sunday.

The Whitecaps did not put a shot on target in the 90 minutes of their home leg in a game with few chances for either side, but Robinson said he was more concerned with allowing Seattle to score an away goal.

"It was important we didn't concede today," Robinson said after the game. "In two-legged ties, conceding at home is a no-no. I learned that years ago. That was the mindset.

"We can be better going forward, but we set up slightly different tactically today and it worked. They defended for their lives. They were excellent and limited a very good Seattle team to no chance. Credit to them for that, so fairly happy."

And Robinson admitted he was not taking any risks with his lineup as Yordy Reyna and Cristian Techera were both limited to second-half substitute appearances after starring in Wednesday's knockout round, a 5-0 rout of the San Jose Earthquakes.

"Cautious, in relation to our attacking play, yeah possibly," Robinson said. "That was based on personnel as well, but we had to make decisions with the two guys that were phenomenal on Wednesday night. We did, so it was a little bit cautious.

"We went to try and win the game, you saw that when we got bits of momentum, we huffed and puffed but were unable to get that clear opportunity.

"I would have played the same team if those guys were fit, but they weren't. I think you saw in the 20, 30 minutes that they played, that it was the right decision because they weren't as lively as they were on Wednesday night.

"Everything plays into your mind when you play a two-legged tie, and for those two guys especially, it's worked out very well because hopefully they'll be fit."

The second leg is Thursday in Seattle, and Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei said the pressure will now be on Vancouver to find a way to score at CenturyLink Field.

"You have to keep in mind that we were the away team," Frei said. "So, if we were cautious, they were even more cautious than we were. Yes, we understand that there's an away goal rule, but you can't bank on that.

"They have to score now, a 0-0 tie isn't going to do anything for them at our place. And we fancy our chances at home. We've established a really good home record over this year and we're going to take it to them."