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Guess the Starting XI - Match Nine vs. Toronto FC

After a week off, we’re back with an All-Canadian Classic.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Toronto FC Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back everyone.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the week off from Vancouver Whitecaps action.

I have to admit it was a relief to get to watch the various ongoing European competitions and the CONCACAF Champions League final over this break. It was nice to watch some quality soccer that didn’t have the same sense of existential dread that can often be felt watching the blue and white. That being said, here we are, back again in search of more punishment.

There is some positive news though. This Vancouver side has taken these past two weeks as a mini pre-season reset, so hopefully some of that will manifest itself on the pitch this Sunday. Chief among those changes is a re-think of the defensive structure, which may see this team move to a back four.

This is not only out of an effort to change things up, but also a bit out of necessity. Although Erik Godoy, Deiber Caicedo and Ryan Gauld are back to full health, the Whitecaps lost Tristan Blackmon over the break who is now out for at least a month with a knee injury. Caio Alexandre is still out for a similar time frame, while Cristian Gutierrez and Leonard Owusu are looking to return to full training next week: this means that they too will not be available this weekend against TFC.

The Caps did pick up some reinforcements over the break, but only one of those looks ready to hit the ground running in Vancouver. Luis Martins, the 29-year-old fullback most recently of Sporting KC, is a week or two away from making his debut, although I would assume he’ll build up towards a full 90 gradually, as he’s been in free agent limbo these past couple months. As for Andres Cubas, he’ll look to join the squad around the end of the month, so it could be mid-June before he figures prominently in the team sheet. We’ll just have to see.

Ok, that about empties the notebook for me. I’ll endeavour to add any other teams news as it occurs. Now 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.