Have you calmed down? Has your blood returned to a resting temperature? Are you ready for another weekend of football fandom?
Last weekend was, ahem, eventful.
Of course we’ve discussed it, you’ve probably read about it, seen it in the highlight packages, on your social media feeds, and anywhere else you get your news about MLS. The match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium was thrown off-course not even 10 minutes in when some stuff happened in the box - which it usually does when there’s a set piece - and someone fell down, and whether it was a dive, or not-an-elbow, or a foul before the not-an-elbow, or whatever, Kendall Waston got his marching orders and the somewhat wasteful (though still quite deadly) Atlanta United FC attack ripped the remaining 10-men of the Vancouver Whitecaps to pieces to the tune of 4-1.
There were highs, or at least one high when Hurtado put that ‘1’ on the board, and lots of lows, but last week is over and done.
Even better, the not-an-elbow was judged to be just that, not-an-elbow! Kendall Waston’s red card has been rescinded today by an independent review panel and justice and fair play have been restored! Hurrah! Of course, there’s still the points that the ‘Caps won’t get a fair chance of playing for last week, but again - over and done.
To the point of team news - Waston isn’t suspended, and even better, the news from the treatment room is that Doneil Henry, Marcel de Jong and Aly Ghazal have all overcome their various injuries and were back in training with the team this week.
Which now allows us to move ahead to the weekend, the Whitecaps are back in Vancouver to host, what looks on paper to be a beleaguered, injury ridden LA Galaxy side. Sigi Schmid’s men make the trip north without club captain Ashey Cole due to suspension, as well as the absences of Ola Kamara and Emrah Klimenta who are away on international duty with Norway and Montenegro respectively. Add to that a long list of injuries, and you can pretty safely expect a patchwork eleven to take the field opposite the ‘Caps on Saturday.
Even if new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic was making the trip to Vancouver - which he’s not (disappointed not to see him in the flesh, happy because he won’t be pummeling us with ludicrous highlight reel goals just yet) - LA is still without a slew of players through injury including both Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, Joao Pedro, Bradford Jamieson IV and more.
Combine that long list of absent players with a woeful away record, and it almost feels like jinxing this thing is nearly impossible. The LA Galaxy haven’t won in any of their last 10 away matches, and certainly won’t be boasting their 8 losses and 2 draws over that stretch.
From what it looks like, the toughest thing for Carl Robinson this week is going to be making sure he gets his players up for the match, so that they’re not complacent tomorrow evening. With the way Vancouver has played to start the campaign - they should walk out in front of another raucous crowd at BC Place, and they should entertain their audience, and they should walk out of this thing with 3 more points in the bag.
All that should stuff aside, a win this week would get things back on track ahead of two tough away fixtures in Columbus and Salt Lake City, and it would extend the Whitecaps current unbeaten run of 10 matches at home to a new club record in the MLS era.
Say what you will about the away form, but in my opinion, home success is key to a team’s overall success throughout the year. You play half your games at home, and of those 17 games in front of your fans, taking as many of the 51 maximum home points you can means that the bumps and hiccups and Ismail Elfaths of the road travel don’t hinder your overall campaign. In all of 2017 the ‘Caps only picked up 52 points after all.
So with that, I say Happy Friday to you, and let’s hope for all 3 points at BC Place tomorrow evening.