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Playoff Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps

The Vancouver Whitecaps finished 2nd in the Western Conference, good enough for a first round bye

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps

How We Got Here

The Whitecaps finished with a 16-13-5 record and 53 points, good enough for second in the Western Conference. They were 8-2-6 at home, and an impressive 7-3-7 on the road. They were able to clinch a first round bye with a victory against the Houston Dynamo in the final match of the regular season.

What's the Outlook?

The Whitecaps finished the season quite strong with that 3-0 win over the Dynamo, although they had been shut out in three straight contests before that. The Whitecaps go into the playoffs with major question marks on their roster, all due to the numerous injuries they've sustained to key players. Mauro Rosales, Cristian Techera, Pedro Morales and Nicolas Mezquida are just a few Whitecaps that are going into the post-season at well below 100% health. The Whitecaps success is going to be directly linked to how healthy their star players are, so obviously Head Coach Carl Robinson must be happy with the bye week giving his boys some extra time to mend.

Why the Whitecaps Will Win the MLS Cup

When the Whitecaps are healthy, they have one of the most enviable rosters in the league. Pedro Morales, Cristian Techera, Octavio Rivero and Kekuta Manneh can all score goals, a depth the Whitecaps really haven't seen before. Their backline has Kendall Waston, one of the best defenders in MLS. However, they also boast solid veterans Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey, as well as capable youngsters in Tim Parker and Sam Adekugbe. Matias Laba is arguable the best defensive midfielder in the league. Then there's David Ousted, arguably the team MVP for 2015, as well as one of the best goalkeepers in MLS. The Whitecaps have a lot of weapons and have shown before that when they fire on all cylinders, they can be a nightmare for opposing teams.

Why the Whitecaps Will Fall Short

The Whitecaps are not healthy, and they've struggled mightily for most of the final portion of the regular season. The Whitecaps don't have a go-to scorer right now, and are going to have to rely on Octavio Rivero and Kekuta Manneh to be consistent threats, when they were inconsistent at best during the regular season. If they can't get someone to step up to the plate, it will be a very short post-season indeed.