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Match Preview: Whitecaps vs Earthquakes

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The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to start a new winning streak when they travel to San Jose this weekend

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Whitecaps may not have won versus the Columbus Crew, but the air of positivity surrounding the team has yet to be quelled even a little bit. With Octavio Rivero continuing his torrid scoring pace and Darren Mattocks putting forth his best effort of the season, it's hard not to believe in the plucky club. The Whitecaps will get the opportunity to continue their hot start when they battle with the San Jose Earthquake this weekend, although there are sure to be some tired Vancouver legs giving their recently compressed schedule.

Let's Talk Fatigue

The Whitecaps will have to look for their second wind, as they play their second match of the week after the Wednesday clash with the Columbus Crew. While Head Coach Carl Robinson would obviously like to give some of his players a break, injuries may make that impossible.

Diego Rodriguez left the Crew match early with a strained quad and is obviously questionable for the match, while Kendall Waston is no doubt still feeling a little sore after his tumble in that same match. That means Kah, who did not look great against the Crew, will likely get substantial minutes against the Earthquake unless Robbo goes with someone else, like Tim Parker.

How about the Earthquake?

San Jose will be a hungry team this weekend, as they're coming off two straight losses including a 1-0 shutout against Real Salt Lake on April 5th.  The Earthquake are a puzzling squad; They sit at 2-3 on the year and currently occupy 6th in the Western Conference, yet both of their wins have come against tough teams, a 3-2 victory against Seattle, and a 1-0 victory against FC Dallas to open the season. Is their play better than their record suggests? The Whitecaps will find out on the weekend.

They'll have to contend with MLS veteran Chris Wondolowski, who's off to a good start in 2015 with three goals on the season, but they won't have to deal with newcomer Innocent Emeghara, who's been suspended for an incident during the Earthquake/Real Salt Lake match last weekend. He has one goal on the year, and is second on the team with 8 shots.

Who should get the start up top?

Darren Mattocks started over Kekuta Manneh against Columbus, and put forth a terrific effort. He scored a goal, helped out on another, and racked up a team high 7 shots, although only 2 of them were directed at the net. Does he deserve another start, after seeing only substitution duty to start the season?

Well, the answer isn't all that simple. Kekuta Manneh came on late in the match and was wonderful, generating an assist and a shot on goal, and had a great outing against the LA Galaxy last weekend. The Whitecaps may have some trouble selecting a starter, but man oh man is that ever a great problem to have.

Prediction?

Whitecaps are tired, but keep the mojo going with a 2-1 road victory.

Extra Time

Be sure to check our match preview with Soccer Talk 650 host Tyler Green on this week's From the Backline. You can listen to it here.