CHIVAS VS VANCOUVER; THE PREVIEW
The Vancouver Whitecaps were the most surprising team last year, bouncing back from a last place finish in 2011, to a playoff berth in 2012.
Chivas USA might take that title this year.
The Goats are 2-1-1, and exploded for four goals (FOUR. CHIVAS.) against the Chicago Fire in their last match, proving they have pop in their attack, not a popgun attack. (See what I did there?)
However, the Whitecaps are the favourites heading into the match, mostly because they haven’t lost to Chivas in five straight matches, going 2-0-3, and outscoring Chivas 6-1. To be fair, most of those goals did come the last time these two teams met, when Camilo had a three point night, and the Whitecaps won 4-0.
Can the ‘Caps win on the road?
The Whitecaps struggles on the road are well documented. They couldn’t crack the goose egg in their first MLS year, and they won just three times the following year. The ‘Caps fell to Houston last weekend in their first road match of the 2013 campaign, and in their last 11 contests, they’re an abysmal 0-9-2. However, the ‘Caps did register their first ever MLS road win against Chivas, when Jay Demerit headed home the winner in a 1-0 victory. So, basically, the ‘Caps have had some success against Chivas on the road, but given how much Chivas has struggled in recent years, that should hardly be viewed as a staggering accomplishment. They are a much improved team (so far, at least), so we might have to throw all of the stats out the window.
How about that 3-4-3 formation?
The three man backline is a rare defensive formation, but it seems to have worked for Chivas so far. For hockey fans, it essentially means that Chivas will be sporting a very aggressive forecheck, trying to pressure the ‘Caps defence and force as many turnovers as possible. It’s a strategy that might just work too, as the ‘Caps seem to get flustered when they’re under intense pressure. For the Whitecaps to be successful, they’ll need quick ball movement, and a smart attack. That means pushing the ball wide behind the wing backs; the flanks are essentially no man’s land, where the ‘Caps can truly do their damage. They need to force Chivas to chase them, forcing the pressure back. It also means the Whitecaps backline will have very little room for error, and imagine that Joe Cannon or Brad Knighton will have their share of goal kicks.
Who needs to step up?
Camilo hasn’t been able to get off the bench much, and there’s even rumors out there that he’s nursing a minor injury. If he gets into the lineup versus the Goats, then expect him to be hungry and compete. It helps that he’s had success against Chivas (the aforementioned three point match on Oct. 3rd), and if he wants to continue to get playing time when Kenny Miller gets back, he’ll need to put up some stats.
The 86Forever guaranteed prediction: Camilo has a good match, Chivas comes slightly back down to Earth. 2-1 ‘Caps.