The Vancouver Whitecaps return to BC Place for the second week in a row to face the Colorado Rapids with the objective of extending their winning streak at home to three games and with that, clinch a victory what would represent their best start in MLS history.
The last time these two teams clashed was for the last game of the 2013 season at BC Place. That game saw the Whitecaps beat the Rapids by a whopping score of 3-0 due to a hat-trick scored by a player whose name I cannot remember for some reason.
The Colorado Rapids did not have any major moves in the player department during the offseason; however, Oscar Pareja left his head coach post at Colorado to join his beloved FC Dallas. Colorado hired Pablo Mastroeni as interim coach and later removed the tag of interim, naming him the official head coach. The Colorado Rapids roll into BC Place in 6th place in the Western conference with 4 points and a record of (1-1-1). Interestingly, they have scored five goals in three games - all of which have come from the penalty spot. Four of the five were scored by Uruguayan forward Vicente Sanchez.
The Whitecaps (2-0-2) are currently in third place in the Western conference. Much speculation has surrounded Robbo's decision about the formation that he will present on Saturday afternoon. Will he repeat the 4-4-2 diamond that had success versus Houston last week? Or will he revert back to what seems to be his preferred 4-2-3-1 that produced the huge win against New York on opening day. On the latest episode of From The Backline we discussed the possibility of Robinson repeating the diamond formation for a second week in a row as this allows him to include Darren Mattocks, Kenny Miller and Pedro Morales in their preferred positions in the starting lineup.
The boys in blue and white will have a good chance of getting full points if they come out and impose their style of play on the Rapids. If they are able to dominate the midfield and show good movement from Mattocks and Miller up front, they should be able to find spaces in a very depleted Colorado back line.
Players to follow:
Pedro Morales: The Whitecaps designated player continues to delight at home with virtuoso-like performances. It will be interesting to see if Colorado gives him the space and time that he requires to create magic in the Vancouver attack.
Matias Laba: The young designated player had a brilliant performance against Houston - effectively rendering their midfield useless. A strong outing will be needed by the Argentinian to cut service to a speedy Colorado attacking line.
Jay DeMerit/Andy O'Brien: Last year, the then-rookie Deshorn Brown gave Y.P. Lee all sorts of problems with his physicality and pace. The veteran Whitecaps central back pairing will need perfect positioning if they want to avoid losing out in a race.
Vicente Sanchez: The veteran Uruguayan is pulling the strings in the Rapids' attack and his contributions will need to be minimized in order for the Whitecaps to have the best chance of getting the win.
Deshorn Brown: The youngster is in his sophomore season and, despite the fact he hasn't shown the form that had him in the running for Rookie of the Year in 2013, he will need to be treated carefully in order to avoid issues on defense.
Prediction: The Whitecaps should be able to continue their dominant performances at home and come up with a 2-1 win.