When: Saturday, August 3rd, 5:00 pm (PST)
Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
How: TSN4 (Canada), MLS Live on ESPN (America), TSN 1040 (Radio)
Who’s Available for Vancouver Whitecaps?
For only the second time in over a month, the Vancouver Whitecaps will play only one match this week. That means that Marc Dos Santos should have a full slate of players to choose between. The bigger question is whether there are 11 players on this club that can play together and make a difference.
The season has not turned out the way that Marc Dos Santos probably envisioned, with many of his offensive weapons failing to produce. Young Designated Player Joaquin Ardaiz has been exiled, having played only 335 minutes this season, and no goals to show for it. Interesting note, Theo Bair is now right behind him with 289 minutes played in MLS. Add in Canadian Championship and Bair has played more than the key signing. Meanwhile, the other important offensive signing, Fredy Montero, has failed to live up to his previous heights, having only scored twice away from the penalty spot.
In the midfield, things are even more confusing. Hwang In-Beom has played the second most minutes on the club (1914), and has fared okay, but has been without much support. Russell Teibert (1316 minutes), Andy Rose (1148), and Felipe (1057) have all been useless in controlling the midfield, while captain Jon Erice (1617) has only played one of the previous three MLS matches. The midfield is hurting and it has shown on the field as the club is unable to get any moment or connection to the attacking players.
In the back, things have been fairly stable with Crepeau, Nerwinski, Henry, Godoy, and Adnan comprising the back five most nights. Henry pulled up lame in the previous match, being replaced by Godoy ten minutes into the match. If Henry is unable to go, we will see a Godoy/Cornelius back two, however, if Henry is available, it will be interesting to see if MDS gives Godoy the night off that he didn’t receive last match.
Who’s Worth Watching for FC Cincinnati?
Many of us joked heading into 2019 that FC Cincinnati looked like a who’s who of Cascadia cast-offs. More specifically, Vancouver Whitecaps cast-offs. There will be a lot of familiar names among the Cincinnati players, with Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, and Kendall Waston all seeing regular minutes for the club. In fact, those three former Whitecaps account for 27% of Cincinnati’s goals this season (6 of 22).
Perhaps the bigger surprise for Cincinnati this season is the lack of offensive production from their former Portland Timbers pickups (Alvas Powell and Fanendo Adi), and Atlanta United left back Greg Garza. While Garza has only played 398 minutes this season, while Powell has only 968, the pair of fullbacks have yet to register an assist (or goal). Meanwhile, Adi has been relegated to the bench, having started only seven matches this season, scoring one goal. Folks, there is a reason why these two teams are at the bottom of the MLS -lack of production from their supposed offensive weapons!
Who’s Going to Win?
Last in their respective conferences (on points per game), both clubs are struggling. Cincinnati has three wins in their last nineteen, and have lost their last three, while Vancouver’s struggles have been heavily covered. In a matchup of the two worst clubs in MLS, it is a toss-up as to who will come out on top. If the match was in Vancouver, I would be more inclined to say Vancouver pulls it out, but in Cincinnati, who knows. Then again, Vancouver hasn’t performed too much worse on the road than at home. The poetic result would be a draw, and while Vancouver nine draws this season, Cincinnati has only two.
Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I believe that the Caps can pull one out in this match, as they will be well-rested and Cincinnati is just BAD! Don’t be surprised if Waston gets a red card or something in this one.
That is our take on the match. What is yours? Who will you be watching in this match? Who starts for MDS in this one? Can the Caps finally pull out a victory? Let us know your thoughts.