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Match Preview: Whitecaps vs Fire

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The Whitecaps will look to bounce back from a disappointing opening season loss when they tangle with the Chicago Fire

USA TODAY Sports

Expectations for the Vancouver Whitecaps have been tempered a bit over the past week, as fans saw a over matched, disjointed group fall to Toronto FC 3-1. It wasn't just that the Whitecaps lost, it was the manner in which they were so thoroughly stymied and outplayed in a very forgettable second half that really caused some worry.

However, the Whitecaps will have to put that out of their minds now, as they embark on their first road match of the season, a trip to Chicago to take on the Fire. They'll be taking on a pumped up squad playing their 2015 home opener, and filled with plenty of new faces.

The Whitecaps Last Match

The Whitecaps fell to TFC 3-1 in their 2015 home opener

The Fire Last Match

The Fire hit the road and fell to the LA Galaxy 2-0

Will the Gameplan Change?

With the Whitecaps failing to create much of anything in the second half of the TFC match, it will be interesting to see what game plan Carl Robinson and co decide to roll out for the Fire match. The strategy appeared to be 'lob the ball and hope someone fast can run underneath it', a brutally simplistic approach when you have such talented playmakers on your roster, including the likes of Mauro Rosales and Pedro Morales. In terms of personnel, Robinson may choose to stick with the same attackers up front, as both Octavio Rivero and Kekuta Manneh did enough to earn another start, in my opinon.

What about that backline?

As I mentioned earlier this week, the Whitecaps have a problem at the Center Back position. Pa Modou Kah and Kendall Waston play far too similar of a game, and both cannot be counted on to finish a match without picking up a card or two. Kendall Waston looked largely ineffective against TFC with Kah as his partner, and a more palatable partnering would be someone similar to Andy O'Brien, a calm, positionally sound brick wall. Problem is, I'm not sure the Whitecaps have another Center Back like that on their roster right now.

Plenty of new faces, but a familiar one missing

You can read Sean Spencer of Hot Time in Old Town go into a little more detail regarding the Fire's roster turnover, as the team has undergone some changes since the 2014 season. In addition, they're still without 2013 MLS MVP Mike Magee, who's expected to miss a few more weeks as he recovers from surgery in August. The Fire attack is far from toothless, but it's also a departure from the star studded line-up the 'Caps backline had to deal with last week.

Lineup Prediction: Ousted, Beitashour, Waston, Rodriguez, Harvey, Laba, Teibert, Rosales, Morales, Manneh, Rivero

Final Prediction: An early road match yields a 0-0 result.

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