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Guess the Starting XI - Match Eight @ Austin FC

A lot has changed for both of these teams since they met in 2021.

MLS: Austin FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone.

Changes look to be on the horizon for this Vancouver Whitecaps team as Vanni Sartini admitted this week that he and his coaching staff have been forced to re-evaluate how they want the team to play.

Their opponents, Austin FC, have been off to a red-hot start so far this season, as they currently sit second in the West behind LAFC. The Texas team has been boosted by a couple early season blowouts, but recent wins over Minnesota and DC United have proven that Austin’s hot start is more than a fluke. Sure, they might not be as good as second in the West over the course of a full season, but at the very least, this will be another tough match-up for Vancouver prior to the week off.

Flipping back to Vancouver and those changes, Sartini admitted this week that the Cristian Dajome at fullback experiment is dead. With Ryan Gauld out for this one, we could see Dajome start up front as a number ten, or perhaps come off the bench as a second striker. Obviously, Vite would be an option as well at that attacking mid spot.

Another tactical change that appears to be on the horizon is Brian White and Lucas Cavallini starting together up front. After their second half performances against Montreal, it looks like the ‘Caps might go a bit more route one with their attack, firing balls into their two strikers and seeing what kind of chaos they can create.

In order to feed the striking duo, there will be more of a focus on service, especially early crosses and long balls, so it will be interesting to see how that effects decisions at wing back and centre back. I’d have to think both Ryan Raposo and Cristian Gutierrez would have big roles to play in such a setup, but you never know with Vanni. (Note: as of Friday afternoon it sounds like Gutierrez is out for this weekend, so that certainly makes team selection all the more interesting)

Finally, I can’t see much of a change happening in the midfield, especially now that it looks as though it’s confirmed Leo Owusu is out for this one as well. (Updated as of Friday afternoon)

Ok, on to rules and standings.

  • 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.