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Guess the Starting XI - Match One vs. Columbus Crew

We’re back for another season, time to get the crystal balls out!

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone for another season of Guess the Starting XI! It’s been far too long.

For those coming back to the contest, it’s good to have you back. For those who might be dropping in on this article for the first time, I’d encourage you to join us: it’s a great way to get invested in the matches and track your prediction skills alongside fellow Whitecaps supporters.

Now, for the season ahead, much like the Whitecaps themselves, things are going to look pretty similar. Here are the rules.

  • Predictions will be ‘valid’ if posted HERE (or more accurately, whichever is the correct match thread) before the lineup is officially announced, usually about an hour before kickoff.
  • You receive 1 point for every player you correctly guess to be in the Starting XI. You receive 4 bonus points for correctly predicting all 11 starters.
  • You get 5 points for correctly guessing Win/Lose/Draw, this doubles to 10 if you also predict the right score-line along with the result.
  • All this means, if you correctly predict the Starting XI, Final Score, and Winner, you can earn 25 points!
  • At the end of each half, the contestant’s lowest two scores of that period will be deducted from the cumulative standings.

The idea of the last point is to encourage more people to get involved. We all have busy lives, and there’s no sense in making it too punitive if you miss a match here or there. As a result, there’ll be four chances to have a score wiped out, twice for each half of the season which will be split evenly at the 17 match mark.

Ok, now on to the matchup with the Crew. This is the first time these teams have met since the 21st of September back in 2019, so needless to say, a lot has changed since then. The Crew won an MLS Cup in 2020, but also struggled in 2021, finishing 9th in the Eastern Conference. Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes will be familiar faces to Whitecaps supporters, but the addition of Ghanaian winger Yaw Yeboah promises to provide some creation in wide areas, something that the Crew really lacked all of last year.

For the Whitecaps, Brian White has been dealing with a knock this week, while Caio Alexandre is unlikely to be involved as he returns to match fitness. Other than that, Vanni Sartini has a blank slate to work with.

Good luck to everyone and enjoy the match.