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Match Preview: Whitecaps vs Columbus Crew

After a disappointing and dull goalless draw with the LA Galaxy the Whitecaps look to get back to their winning ways on the road in Columbus. 

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s match will be played at noon PST at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus Ohio.

Storylines to Follow

Top of the Table Clash: Both the Vancouver Whitecaps (2-1-1) and the Columbus Crew (3-0-1) sit atop their respective divisions early in the season. The Caps will look to derail the dominant start Gregg Berhalter and his team have enjoyed.

Keep the Streak Alive: The caps have won the last two times they’ve visited Columbus and are undefeated against the Crew under head coach Carl Robinson. In order to succeed the Caps will need to disrupt the Crew’s possession from the back mentality. They are not shy of pinging balls between their centerbacks, keeper and deep lying playmakers while they wait for opportunities to open up downfield.

The Prodigal Son Returns: Kei Kamara is back in Columbus for the first time as a Vancouver Whitecap, he’ll need to make his former club pay. The big issue will be service. The caps had trouble getting balls to their front-man against a very defensive minded LA Galaxy, they’ll need some creativity in midfield or some pinpoint crossing from the wingers to come away with three points in Columbus.

Burning Questions for the Upcoming Match

How will Carl Robinson and the squad respond after a pedestrian performance against and undermanned Galaxy squad last match? The Whitecaps desperately need their midfield to step up and define their attack.

The Caps have come out in a 4-1-4-1, a 4-3-3 and a 3-5-2 at various points this season, which formation will we see Saturday afternoon in Ohio? With a fully match-fit roster, some uncertainty at CB, and a questionable performance from the middle three in the last match, the man in charge has some interesting tactical decisions to make.

Will we see the patient Caps side that likes to hit on the counter, or will Robbo play a high press to disrupt Columbus’ attack from the back mentality? Either way the caps will need to be disciplined in their formation as the Crew have the personnel to take advantage of any defensive misstep.

Can the Whitecaps stop the dynamic duo of Federico Higuain and Gyasi Zardez? Zardes and Higuain have been extremely dangerous this season combining for 5 goals through three matches Higuain has added 2 assist to his totals and has also put himself into the 50 goals, 50 assists club.