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Match Preview: Caps vs SKC

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MLS: CONCACAF Champions League-Sporting Kansas City at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Brett Levis won’t feature today, but his fellow wide players could prove key.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Sporting Kansas City (20/05/17)

kick off: 4:00 pm

BC Place

TV: TSN1 TSN4

Radio: TSN 1040

The Whitecaps return home for the first time since mid-April to face a high-flying SKC side, fresh off a 3-0 thrashing of the Seattle Sounders. That win put SKC top of the western conference, though most of the other top teams have a game, or even games, in hand (FC Dallas have only played 9 games but have 19 points and are undefeated, scary). SKC will be a tough challenge for a ‘Caps team who have mostly picked up points against struggling teams this year.

SKC play a 4-3-3 formation that becomes more of a 3-4-3 when they are in possession as Ille Sanchez drops deeper to allow Graham Zusi and Seth Sinovic more freedom to get forward. This allows them to overload the midfield so we may be in for another match where the ‘Caps are significantly out-possessed (SKC had 61% possession against the Sounders). However, this set up may create some weaknesses to quick counter attacks down the flanks, which plays right into Vancouver’s strengths. Perhaps super sub Brek Shea can be the hero once again. Alphonso Davies also seems like a player who could make an impact in this type of game. With SKC flooding the midfield it will also be very important for the ‘Caps presumptive defensive midfielder trio to throttle the creativity of players like Benny Feilhaber.

Having played on Wednesday, it’s possible that there could be some rotation from SKC, though Peter Vermes is known to prefer a stable XI. Nevertheless, Kansas to Vancouver is a very long flight so maybe Vermes’ hand may be forced. I expect to see one or two players changed out from the team that played Seattle, but I doubt there will be wholesale changes. On the Whitecaps end of things, Carl Robinson will most likely stick with the same XI that has played the last four games, with the slight possibility of Brek Shea’s goals earning him a starting spot. The 4-1-4-1 may make Eighty Six Forever’s guess the starting XI game pretty boring, but it has been effective and the players seem to be buying into the system (remember you can still guess the score!).

Injuries:

Vancouver Whitecaps:

OUT: D - Brett Levis (ACL tear)

OUT: M/F - Yordy Reyna (foot surgery 2/21, week to week)

OUT: D - David Edgar (PCL, MCL tear)

OUT: F - Erik Hurtado (left foot contusion)

OUT: D - Christian Dean (foot injury)

OUT: F - Kyle Greig (right quad injury)

OUT: D - Jake Nerwinski (right quad tightness)

OUT: M/F - Bernie Ibini (hamstring)

POSSIBLE: M - Marco Bustos (left hamstring strain)

POSSIBLE: D - Cole Seiler (left hamstring strain)

Good Lord that’s a long list.

Sporting Kansas City:

OUT: F - Diego Rubio (torn ACL)

POSSIBLE: F - Soony Saad (ankle sprain)

POSSIBLE: F - Dom Dwyer (knee injury)

Possible Lineups:

VWFC: Ousted; Harvey, Waston, Parker, Williams; Laba; Bolanos, Tchani, Jacobson, Techera; Montero

SKC: Melia; Sinovic, Besler, Ellis, Zusi; Espinoza, Sanchez, Feilhaber; Blessing, Dwyer, Fernandes