One match may have been cancelled this week, but the Vancouver Whitecaps will be in action this weekend, as they get ready to take on the Philadelphia Union. The Union have struggled mightily this season, but there are still plenty of reasons the Whitecaps can't take them lightly.
To take a look at those reasons, we touched base with out SB Nation sister blog The Brotherly Game, and colleague Eugene Rupinski.
86 Forever: A pretty rough start to the campaign for the Union (1-6-3). Is the season salvageable?
The Brotherly Game: Anything is possible - at least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.
Honestly there is still time left in the season where a good hot streak could put the Union back into the playoff picture, especially in a weak Eastern Conference. The problem will be getting that streak started. After a long trip to Vancouver, the Union face D.C. United home and away with an away match against the New York Red Bulls sandwiched in between.
They'll then face the only team they've been able to get a win against - New York City FC - at the end of a three games in eight days stint after hosting Columbus Crew SC the Wednesday after going to RFK. The schedule is daunting to say the least, although when you've won once in ten tries everything looks daunting.
86F: A bright spot has been Fernando Aristeguieta, who has 3 goals on the year. How good is this kid?
TBC: I think if he had the pieces around him he could be a serious contender for the MLS Golden Boot. His three goals are in just eight games, the last of which he's played with a broken hand. I feel like with wingers to provide him with consistent service and/or a second striker to play off of that Aristeguieta would be a household name in MLS. He's a big target that possesses a great mix of speed, strength, technical ability, and a nose for goal.
86F: Are there any new faces on the Union 'Caps fans should be aware of ?
TBC: Beyond Aristeguieta there's also defender Richie Marquez, who impressed last week against Toronto FC. Marquez was a third round draft pick last year who spent the year in Harrisburg and seemed to be an afterthought in this year's rotation until injuries hit.
With Steven Vitória out, Marquez was pressed into service next to (until recently) out-of-favor center back Ethan White and did remarkably well in his first MLS minutes. Now the Union have a history of guys who do well in their first minutes flaming out fast (see: John McCarthy, Antoine Hoppenot, Aaron Wheeler, etc.) but who knows.
Predicted Lineup: M'Bolhi; Williams, Marquez, Vitória, Gaddis; Edu, Pfeffer; Wenger, Maidana, Ayuk; Aristeguieta
Predicted Score: The Union have been awful, and I don't think a cross-continent trip against a good opponent does them any favors. 2-1 Whitecaps