Kickoff: 7:30 pm Radio: TSN 1040 TV: TSN 1
The rejuvenated Vancouver Whitecaps will go looking for their second win in a row on Wednesday, when they tangle with Sporting Kansas City at BC Place. The Whitecaps looked lost last week, like a team desperate for answers before they took on the top team in the Western Conference standings, FC Dallas, and beat them 3-0. It was a confidence building win, an absolutely gigantic moment for the club despite this being so early in the season. The Whitecaps come into the match with some re-discovered confidence, while Sporting Kansas City are looking for a dose of their own. They've lost three straight and have just one win in their last five. SKC took the first match-up of the season, 2-1 back on March 12th.
What about Pedro?
The Whitecaps will be getting their Captain back, as Head Coach Carl Robinson confirmed Pedro Morales will be involved on Wednesday. Morales had missed the previous three matches with a left hip strain and according to WhitecapsFC.com, Robinson has promised Morales will be involved "be involved at some stage", but won't commit to whether that will be in the starting lineup or off the bench. Given the Whitecaps also play this weekend, it's foreseeable Robinson may want to limit the Captain's minutes and just use him in the second half against SKC.
Ousted the Incredible
David Ousted was unquestionably the MVP of the Dallas match-up, stymieing the visitors time and time again with miraculous saves.
In the early going of 2016, The Dane is looking even better than he did in his eye-opening 2015 campaign, and will no doubt be called on again to work his magic against SKC. Alistair Corp did a nice write-up of Ousted and his rise to the elite here.
Rivero Still Slumping
With Robinson talking about spreading around minutes, either the SKC match or the NYCFC match would be a perfect time to sit Octavio Rivero and try something else in the attack. I'll give you your customary line about Rivero working hard on the pitch, but he still isn't scoring goals, bottom line. (The last time he scored for Vancouver? September 9th, 2015, against Colorado)
I think Blas Perez has looked more effective out there, but it's clear Robinson doesn't want to over-extend the veteran and play him too much. In any case, it looks like any lineup shakeups will be saved for New York.
The Whitecaps and SKC are obviously trending in opposite directions when it comes to confidence. Combine that with home advantage for Vancouver, and I'm predicting a Whitecaps win. 1-0 Vancouver