The Vancouver Whitecaps are set to battle the Chicago Fire in a Wednesday night match in the Windy City. Despite being on the road this is a match, on paper, that the Whitecaps should be able to take full points from in order to start making up those points that the Blue and White have been dropping at home.
Since the Whitecaps are in less than splendid form going into this match, they can consider themselves lucky because they are facing a Chicago team that are not doing much better. The Fire has won only one out of their last nine matches and they currently sit in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference only above the Montreal Impact and the Houston Dynamo.
The Fire is coming out of a crushing 5-1 loss on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes last week. That defeat could potentially make Chicago more dangerous as they will be looking to rebound in a big way against another Western opponent. Perhaps more importantly, Chicago played their match last Wednesday so they will have a squad with a full week's rest.
The Whitecaps will be playing this match with only two days rest and with a long travel day in between so it is expected that Carl Robinson will make some changes into his starting lineup. It is worth mentioning that the Whitecaps will have a long rest period after this game as their next match is on August 10th against Sporting Kansas City. So, Robbo could put out his best starting XI looking for a road win in an attempt to put the Whitecaps season back on track.
One of the changes that looks most certain is the inclusion of veteran central back Andy O'Brien into the lineup with Carlyle Mitchell dropping off after the Trinidadian had an unfortunate outing against Dallas on Sunday afternoon. Whatever central back pairing Robinson sends out there, they will have their hands full trying to keep prolific goal scorer Mike Magee off the scoreboard.
The Whitecaps will need to be more clinical in front of the net and convert the chances that they are creating and, perhaps more importantly, they need to remain focused in front of their own net in order to minimize the costly mistakes that have been costing them goals and points.
Who would you like to see in the Whitecaps starting XI?