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Match Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps v. Colorado Rapids

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A day’s break in the madness that is the 2018 World Cup allows for some pause for thought, and a brief look ahead to the Whitecaps’ return to BC Place, and possibly, the return of club captain Kendall Waston.

Switzerland v Costa Rica: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Good morning to all of you, and happy Canada Day long weekend to those of you celebrating. It’s been almost a whole week since the embarrassment that was the 4-0 away against Philadelphia Union. I don’t want to harp on that for too long, but it’s a result that should see some changes to the squad - and positive ones to boot.

One thing that I will say to get this started, is that Carl Robinson may come away from some bad results at times - and this season has had more than a few - but he responds and adjusts his team accordingly. I’m certain he’ll have seen the shortcomings down the flanks as well as the middle of the park and will adjust his starting eleven accordingly.

I’ve spoken about it briefly following last week’s result, and if you sit anywhere near section 246 at BC Place, you may have heard me speak about it a bit louder and with more angst. Brek Shea’s use at left back needs to come to an end, it’s a complete liability. There’s a young, talented, promising and even homegrown left back on the books in Brett Levis who deserves a longer run in the first team and I think he’s now due to get that. It’s just a shame it took a shambollocks display, and an absolute field day for Ilsinho and Borek Dockal to get to that conclusion.

Almost as if ordered by the doctor, and then further enforced by the suspension to Jose Aja, we’re in store for a change to the backline. Now of course, Kendall Waston and Costa Rice have exited the World Cup, so there’s the possibility the big man and goal scoring hero of his nation, could return this weekend.

Personally, I think it’s a bit unlikely as I think he deserves a bit of time to digest and reflect on his journey to Russia, but he is eligible to return this weekend. I would still expect Aaron Maund to get a return to the lineup alongside Doneil Henry in the heart of defence. After all, the Whitecaps host a Rapids team that they beat away in Denver, and who remain the only team in MLS without an away victory. There should be enough mettle in the squad to get a result without rushing Waston back, and leaving him time to enjoy another dream moment after scoring in the World Cup.

As for the midfield, I think Aly Ghazal was exposed too easily last time out, and with it being Canada Day, another Canadian should get the nod in Russell Teibert. I think so far this season Teibert has shown that he is more than adept in the holding and distributing role of the midfield, and will allow the likes of Felipe and Alphonso Davies to get further forward.

Then you have the change at the top. Yordy Reyna’s suspension means there’s more room for change, and while there hasn’t been much information, that clearly opens the door for Nico Mezquida, Erik Hurtado or Anthony Blondell to make a start. We haven’t seen much of Hurtado this season, and I would actually think his work rate and desire would be of good use for a team that could use a spark.

Robbo has shown that he isn’t opposed to a 4-4-2 with two strikers, and a partnership of Hurtado and Kamara looks intriguing on paper. Both are willing runners into the box, and I think that hard work is something that will get the fans back behind the team after last week, and of course could provide the goals you need to win a game.

On the whole, the defeat in Philadelphia was sour to say the least, but what it does do is force some changes to the team and, fingers crossed, could give us the best Vancouver Whitecaps lineup of the season. Or at least you can hope right?

Who do you think deserves a start this weekend? Do you think the ‘Caps can pick up the 3 points that they should this Canada Day?