Here they go again. Three days after their disappointing loss to Kansas City that extends their MLS losing streak to four games, the Vancouver Whitecaps meet Sporting KC in their first Champions League meeting at BC Place tonight at 7PM. You can watch the live stream of the game on the CCL Facebook page. This will be a battle of the second teams and, after their positive result at Central FC, this is a tournament that Vancouver can win.
The ‘Caps currently sit atop their CCL group with 3 points, while KC and Central FC each share one point from their draw in Trinidad and Tobago. A win tonight and the ‘Caps can take control of the group. Based on these results, a win actually seems a possibility, especially considering Sporting KC is currently in the midst of a seven game winless streak in all competitions.
This game will likely feature a different set of players for both teams than we saw on Saturday in Kansas. Matias Laba and Tim Parker, sat out the game in KC and can be expected in the lineup. Russell Teibert came on as a 60' sub and may be called on to start. The game should also see the return of some WFC2 players that featured in T&T: Brett Levis played well at LB and I expect to see him there again; Alphonso Davies played substitute minutes on Saturday and is a good bet to start again tonight; and does Ben McKendry slide back into the lineup? With Laba and possibly Teibert on the field is their room for one more defensive mid-fielder in McKendry? It is more than Robbo's trusty 4-2-3-1 formation needs but it somehow wouldn't be surprising. I expect one of those players to start on the bench. Pa Modou Kah could make a return and a rare appearance in the team. Up top, I expect to see Techera start and Eric Hurtado will likely find his way back in the lineup. But, with Morales, Bolaños and Mezquida playing on the weekend who will be the offensive playmaker this game? Don't expect Morales, but one of the others? Spencer Richie had a good outing in T&T and could find his way back in net tonight.
The CCL is a new tournament and in many ways tonight's lineup will feature a new team. We are all hoping for a fresh result.