The Vancouver Whitecaps are readying to take on a somewhat unfamiliar foe, when they battle with Sporting Kansas City this weekend. The two sides only meet twice all season long, and SKC took the first round at BC Place by a 1-0 final score. Now it's the Whitecaps turn to travel, although the club sports an impressive 7-4-2 road record.
The Whitecaps are coming off a disheartening draw against the Montreal Impact, in which they gave up a pair of late goals to finish at 2-2. However, that was ACC play, and the last Regular Season match the 'Caps played in, they dismantled Real Salt Lake 4-0. So, which Whitecaps squad will show up this weekend?
It will depend on the lineup
It's a pretty safe bet Carl Robinson will be tossing some more veterans in his starting 11, when the two sides do battle. Kendall Waston won't be one of them, as he sits due to his yellow card accumulation, and that's a huge loss for the Whitecaps.
The impact is lessened somewhat due to Pa Modou Kah's recent goal scoring efforts, and improved defensive play. I'm suddenly much more comfortable throwing Kah out there with a kid like Tim Parker, or Christian Dean. In the midfield, Deybi Flores should be subbed out for someone like Cristian Techera, and Darren Mattocks will likely be sat for Octavio Rivero. It will be interesting to see if the group can carry over the momentum for the 4-0 match, or if visions of Montreal are dancing in their heads.
Laba A Question Mark
Matias Laba left the Montreal match with an injury, but was able to leave under his own power, and even briefly returned to the match before he was taken out. If he misses the SKC match, it will be a huge loss to the Whitecaps lineup, even more so with Waston also out.
However, the Whitecaps have Russell Tiebert and Gershon Koffie, two very competent defensive midfielders who should be ready to impress. Still, even with tremendous depth in the lineup, the Whitecaps are a different squad without Laba in the lineup. Hopefully he's fit, and ready to go.
A well deserved rest
The Whitecaps have been playing a ton of matches lately, (this will be their 5th match since August 1st) but they will get a well deserved one week break after this outing. Unfortunately, they will then play a stretch of 3 matches in 8 days upon their return, so they won't be able to relax too much.
By the way, According to WhitecapsFC.com, a weekend win would give the 'Caps 14 wins on the season, a milestone for them in MLS.
Prediction: The 'Caps set a milestone and get win number 14. 2-0 Whitecaps