After a disappointing and forgettable loss against the Colorado Rapids, our Caps look to bounce back against the mighty L.A. Galaxy. This is the Vancouver Whitecaps third and final meeting with the star-studded Californian side. In previous meetings this year, the Galaxy were defeated at B.C. Place 3-1, but won as the Caps travelled down south.
A seemingly influential player in both of the previous encounters with the Galaxy this season has been Russel Teibert. The mowhawked maestro scored his first two goals in Major League Soccer against the Galaxy. When the Whitecaps battled in Los Angeles, Teibert set up the opening goal with a perfect flick towards the on-running Camilo. A good game for Russel could strengthen our front three.
Speaking of the front three, what happened! Against Colorado, we played duller then an unsharpened pencil, feeding long ball after long ball, or our countless attempts to cross in onto the 5'6" head of Russel Teibert. We seem to get good chances once we control it around the box, pass it around, and once the opponents defence slips, we strike. Last Saturday, Kenny Miller looked to tired, Camilo was absent and Russel didn't perfrom great. Martin Rennie will surely talk to all three about their lack of productivity.
A man who should have been helping with producing goals was Daigo Kobayashi, who passed the ball more to the opposition then his team. For some strange reason, I really like Daigo and I want him to succeed, but I'm starting to wonder how much longer we can afford his errors. I expect Rennie to finally listen to our cries, and play Matt Watson. I really enjoy Matt's hardwork and determination, and am surprised Martin hasn't rewarded him for it. Another reason, Matt is a consistently solid player. He will never have a bad game, but never be the star of the show. This can be good for a midfield duo of Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker, who are usually excellent. However, on the off night one of them down't perform, Watson can aid them.
I am also hearing talk of a formation change, from our regular 4-3-3, to a 4-3-1-2. I don't suspect Martin Rennie would change the formation after one loss, but I wouldn't oppose the new formation. A 4-3-2-1, basically plays with three midfielders, one man just behind the strikers (Likely Russel Teibert), and then the top two strikers. The Caps aren't a team who uses the wings too much, so a 4-3-1-2 might fit their "down the middle" strategy.
One bright spot in the Colorado loss was the return of Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican had been out for about a month with an injury, but he returned in a substitute roll for Kenny Miller. Darren looked like his last year self, making excellent runs and winning good headers. Although I don't see any reason to tinker with our front three yet, an early substitute role for Mattocks could be in the cards this Saturday.
Now, my Predicted Starting Line-Up:
Ousted, Harvey, O'Brien, Leveron, Lee, Koffie, Reo-C, Watson, Miller, Camilo, Teibert
2-1 for the Caps
Donovon (56), Camilo (71), Reo-C (83)
Landon Donovon opens the scoring, after Robbie Keane slips a through ball past the defensive line. Donavon cleanly chips the ball over Ousted, and into the back of the net. Camilo levels the match on a PK, after Kenny Miller is clipped by Carlo Cudicini. The hero of the match though, is Nigel Reo-Coker, after his "run down the tube" is uncontested and he fires a shot into the bottom corner.
Good Luck Caps!