The Vancouver Whitecaps will get a second chance against FC Edmonton, when the two teams do battle at BC Place tonight. Yes, the 'Caps didn't lose against their Amway rivals last week, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who found positives from the match.
The 'Caps won 3-2, but gave up two goals to a weaker foe, and had to claw their way back from a goal down. Hey, they only tied the match up when Camilo dove hard inside the box, so it wasn't exactly one for the highlight reel. Bottom line, that was last week, it's old news, and now the Whitecaps have a chance to redeem themselves.
I'm not big on predicting Martin Rennie's lineups, mostly because I'm wrong 90% of the time. However, I'll give it another shot. Rennie said today he plans to use a strong lineup against Edmonton, which means it could be very similar to the one that he fielded against FC Dallas.
Brad Knighton. He didn't play great against Edmonton, but we do have to give the weary bones of Joe Cannon a rest now and then, don't we? Knighton gets the start because of the tight schedule.
Lee-Rusin-O'Brien-Rochat. It might be unfair to play these four so much, but we saw how discombobulated the backups were last time around. It was a gong-show. I could see Rennie resting Andy O'Brien because he's played so much, but the other three just had some time off last week.
In mid, I see Jun-Marques Davidson in his usual defensive role, with Russell Teibert stepping in for Nigel Reo-Coker, and Gershon Koffie making another start. It's not that Nigel Reo-Coker has played badly, it's just the opposite. He played brilliantly against Dallas, and it's time to give the dude a break. Let's have him fresh for the RSL match on the weekend. Teibert looked very good against Edmonton last week, so he deserves another crack.
I have Camilo and Kobayashi as my attacking mid. Not surprising here, Camilo has been on fire recently, and Kobayashi, while he hasn't been as good as his first match, is still a reliable weapon. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tom Heinemann fit in as well, as he's looked very good lately. Obviously, if Kenny Miller were fit to go, he'd find a spot in the 11, but another setback means we won't be seeing him anytime soon. Sad, because he was the feel good story of the early season.
Finally, up front I have Kekuta Manneh stealing the spot from Darren Mattocks. Hey, Mattocks played well against FC Dallas and had plenty of shots, but Manneh had the goal and the 'Caps should ride the hot hand. Plus, lighting a fire under Mattocks isn't necessarily a bad thing, and he'll probably get some second half minutes anyway.
Don't Screw this up
I cannot stress this enough; the Whitecaps can NOT lose this match, or even come close to it. They built up so much momentum against Dallas, it would be a crying shame to see it all go to waste with a poor effort against Edmonton. Plus, the series is much closer than it should be already. (Props to Rob Scott for this tasty tidbit)
If the two teams score the same number of goals over the two legs, the team which scores more away goals is determined as the winner. If this tie-breaker does not produce a winner, then both teams will play two 15-minute periods of extra time after the second leg. If, during extra time, both teams score the same number of goals, the away goals will count as double in favour of the visiting team. If no goals are scored during extra time, then kicks from the penalty mark (in accordance with FIFA Laws of the Game) will be used to determine the winner.
Basically, if the 'Caps crap the proverbial bed once again, Edmonton could sneak away with a win. Scary stuff, considering the Whitecaps are supposed to be heavy favorites.
The 100% Guaranteed 86forever Prediction:
Whitecaps learn from their mistakes, field a stronger backline and win 2-0. For the love of god, please, no drama, no question marks; just a solid team victory that keeps the mojo flowing.
What do you scallywags think?