I guess you can tell how bad the Vancouver Whitecaps history against the LA Galaxy has been, when you consider a loss against the side as full of positives. Despite not scoring a goal and watching three points slip away, the Whitecaps played a very good, involved match and almost escaped with a draw. When you consider that the Galaxy have just owned Vancouver since the 'Caps joined MLS in 2011, a 'close-but-no-cigar' match isn't really something to bemoan. The club showed they are a competitive bunch and can hang with an elite team in this league; but now, as the Galaxy head up to Vancovuer this weekend, the true test begins.
You see, for the 'Caps to keep any of those good vibes going, they're going to need something versus LA. Let me put it this way; if the 'Caps march out of BC Place with another 1-0 loss to LA, a lot of those positives from this week are going to be a pretty distant memory. The 'Caps were cut some slack this time around by fans simply being realistic, but if they can't get a result this weekend, they're going to have far fewer excuses to fall back on. They're going to be at home, and they're going to have Matias Laba at their disposal this time around, for starters.
With all that being said, it's my personal hope that Carl Robinson won't abandon the young lineup that took the pitch in California.
With Kenny Miller and Nigel Reo-Coker on the bench, the Whitecaps switched back to their 4-2-3-1 formation instead of the diamond we saw the last few weeks. The go-to-guys for the attack were Kekuta Manneh (making his first start of the season), Darren Mattocks, and Sebastian Fernandez. The other notable change, was Russell Teibert moving back to the defensive midfield, a position he dabbled in during the pre-season. It was a bold switch by Carl Robinson, and one that almost paid off.
While having a steady veteran presence like Kenny Miller in the lineup can certainly help a team - the Galaxy looked unsure and a little uncomfortable with the new look. I mean, the 'Caps were shut out at the end of the day, so obviously it was the Galaxy that got the upper hand, but with so much youth and speed available to the Whitecaps, Robinson should be looking at keeping his foot on the gas pedal.
However, keeping the youth in would mean a reduction in some veterans' playing time. Should the 'Caps sit Kenny Miller for a second straight week? Miller leads the team in goals, so that isn't exactly an easy sell. Still, I'd argue yes, because if Kekuta Manneh is healthy, I think you need to play him as much as possible. When both he and Darren Mattocks are on the pitch at the same time, they can cause fits for the opposition, and the Whitecaps need to do everything they can to throw the Galaxy off their game. Yes, the Galaxy shut out the 'Caps last week with those two getting plenty of playing time, but now is the time to nurture that relationship, and see if the pair can create some long-standing chemistry.
I'm sure Carl Robinson could even work in all of his major pieces on the attack, perhaps just by reverting back to the diamond. Toss Miller and Mattocks up top, Manneh on one of the wings and you're set. However, then you're moving Pedro Morales away from the CAM role and over onto a wing, and I think he's looked stronger in the former position.
Anyways, what do you think? Should the 'Caps find a healthy mix of veterans and youth in their attack this week? Or should they put the pedal to the metal and give the kids the keys to the car again?