The Whitecaps traveled to Washington, DC on Thursday ahead of their Saturday match against DC United. The 'Caps, who are riding a two-game winning streak after home victories against Chivas USA and the New England Revolution last week, would like to extend their streak at the expense of league bottom United. This is only the second time the 'Caps have visited venerable RFK Stadium and on their last visit in their 2011 inaugural MLS season they lost 4-0.
In theory DC should be easy prey for the 'Caps. They are a shadow of the team that came within a game of hosting MLS Cup last season. Currently DC United sit at the bottom of the MLS standings having only won twice so far. The 'Caps have had more than their fair share of injuries in recent weeks especially when it comes to centre backs. There was good news this week as Gershon Koffie and Brad Rusin have recovered from their injuries and will be available on Saturday. How much action they will get remains to be seen as they will not be 100% match fit since they have both been sidelined for several weeks. Defenders Andy O'Brien and Young-Pyo Lee have not traveled to DC, but may join the team in Kansas City for the Wednesday night game against Sporting Kansas City. O'Brien is still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered in the Cascadia Cup clash against Seattle a few weeks ago, while Lee is being given some time off to rest.
This match will be Russell Teibert's last for a few weeks as he will then leave the 'Caps to join the Canadian Men's National Team for their July 7th Gold Cup opener versus Martinique. Teibert, Camilo Sanvezzo and Kenny Miller have formed a productive and dangerous partnership and all have scored goals for the Blue and White in recent weeks. Camilo is the reigning MLS Player of the Week after his performance against Chivas and this honor was held the week previous by Miller for his brilliant two-goal outing versus the Revs.
The 'Caps will be facing some former team mates on Saturday in the likes of full back Alain Rochat, midfielder John Thorrington and residency product Kyle Porter. Porter left the Whitecaps after 2010 and the oft-injured Thorrington was picked up by DC United in the 2012 MLS Re-Entry Draft. Rochat, a talented and popular player during his time in Vancouver, was traded to DC last month for a pair of future conditional MLS draft picks.
With several key players injured or otherwise not available on Saturday here is a possible starting XI for Vancouver:
GK: Brad Knighton, LB Jordan Harvey, CB Johnny Leveron, CB Carlyle Mitchell, RB Nigel Reo-Coker, DMF Jun-Marques Davidson, MF Matt Watson, MF Daigo Kobayashi, MF Russell Teibert, F Kenny Miller, F Camilo Sanvezzo
While the 'Caps historical road form in MLS has been sub-par they still have a good chance to steal the 3-points from Washington especially if the Tiebert, Camilo and Miller receive good service and create some quality scoring chances. I would expect to see Jun-Marques Davidson return to the starting XI this weekend in his familiar defensive midfield role. In general I would expect to see the 'Caps play a more conservative and defensive style of play that they do when they are away from home. DC United beat the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend which was their first win in MLS since they beat Real Salt Lake back on March 9th.
My prediction: the 'Caps have battled back from behind in their last two games to win and are 4-1-1 in their last 6 MLS matches. I would expect the 'Caps to play a similar style that they did away to the New York Red Bulls recently and will play with a little more confidence based on their recent form. I will go out on a limb and predict a 2-1 victory for the 'Caps.
- with Teibert away on international duty manager Martin Rennie has hinted the Corey Hertzog could be a potential replacement for the talented midfielder from Niagra Falls. Perhaps Hertzog will see some action as a substitute.
- With Y.P. Lee being given time off to rest during this short road trip Nigel Reo-Coker will move to fill Y.P.'s spot at right back - a position Reo-Coker has played in the past.