Left to right: international, available, international, suspended.
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Part of the reason it's stupid for Major League Soccer to play on international breaks is the sense of anticlimax.
If you're American, you get the thrills of the United States playing Mexico at the famed Estadio Azteca. If you're Canadian, you get the, erm, something of Canada playing Trinidad and Tobago at a Fort Lauderdale cricket ground. And also the Vancouver Whitecaps taking on FC Dallas in a match that's much more important for the hoops than the ex-hoops, with both teams utterly savaged by injury, suspension, and international callup in a league where mid-week games are often just endurance competitions anyway.
Yes, I know that officially the Whitecaps and Dallas had to agree to play on this international date. That doesn't mean it's not ridiculous, and it's beyond the reasonable mind why Major League Soccer would give them the choice.
Anyway. This game. With Dallas ten points out of the playoffs (and eleven behind the Whitecaps) they'll certainly be viewing this as a six-pointer. They'll be happy the Whitecaps lineup is so mauled. Regular starter Gershon Koffie is suspended, Jay DeMerit should be sitting out with a concussion, Darren Mattocks and Dane Richards are off on international duty, and even the team's depth isn't up to the usual standard with Russell Teibert, Etienne Barbara, and Carlyle Mitchell also off representing their countries. So big opportunity there!
Well, no. Dallas is missing their leading scorer, Blas Perez, whose foot is still affected by a seemingly-minor knock suffered on international duty. They're also without third-leading scorer Brek Shea; he's a bit of a paper tiger in my books but he's still called up to the American international camp. Julian de Guzman and Carlos Rodriguez are also with their countries and, oh look, one of their regular defenders is suffering from a concussion (Ugo Ihemelu). The good news for Dallas is that David Ferreira is getting back in form, and possibly the Whitecaps will bring back Jonathan Leathers for one night only to deal with him, but it's still a big ask.
This is a game of two teams missing great gouges of their roster facing each other in a game that's important for one of them and a distraction for the other (before the weekend's big Seattle Sounders match). This is not a recipe for brilliant soccer. Of course, if the Whitecaps win they move so far ahead in the race for a playoff spot that they can pretty much book tickets, but barring an atypical collapse they're pretty much there anyway.
At least the arbutus brown will be there!