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The Vancouver Whitecaps’ six home losses were the most among teams that made the playoffs last season, while the nine victories at B.C. Place tied for the second fewest.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

The Vancouver Whitecaps want to make things a little easier on themselves.

The club set franchise records for points, wins and away wins on the way to finishing second in Major League Soccer's Western Conference last season.

But for all those good feelings, Vancouver was a pedestrian 9-6-2 at B.C. Place Stadium. Those six home losses were the most among teams that made the playoffs, while the nine victories tied for the second fewest.

"You've got to be very good at home in this league," Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said. "We were excellent on the road last year and decent at home. I want to be excellent at home and excellent away, but 20 managers are trying to find a way of doing that."

The Whitecaps finished 7-7-3 on the road last season – another franchise record – but were guilty on occasion of playing loose in defence at B.C. Place in an effort to push forward.

"Sometimes we did let ourselves down at home," Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey said. "I think we've gotten better and better and more consistent."

The Whitecaps will get an opportunity to see if that's indeed the case when they host the Montreal Impact on Sunday to open the 2016 schedule.

Vancouver and Montreal both lost in the conference semi-finals in 2015, with the Impact finishing the regular season on a 7-2-2 run to make the playoffs after Mauro Biello took over as coach. Montreal won't have star striker Didier Drogba this weekend because the game will be played on artificial turf, but the Whitecaps are well aware there are plenty of other threats to consider.

"They were a good team last year. They really found a rhythm," Whitecaps defender Tim Parker said. "Going into the playoffs they really got hot. With the names that they have and the team that they have it's going to be an interesting fixture."

Vancouver will have to keep an especially close eye on Impact midfielders Ignacio Piatti and Harry Shipp, as well as speedy forward Dominic Oduro.

"Montreal is a little bit of an underrated team," Whitecaps defender Pa-Modou Kah said. "They have quality players. For us, it's nothing different. We need to go into the game with our mindset of doing what we need to do to perform. It's all about us on Sunday."

Vancouver added strikers Masato Kudo and Blas Perez, midfielder Christian Bolanos and defender Fraser Aird over the winter as the club looks to go further than it did in 2015.

A big part of that success will come down to making B.C. Place a more difficult stop for opponents.

"We know we're good at home on our day," Robinson said. "We need to make sure that day's on Sunday."