Welcome back everyone.
After a hectic but successful month of May, things appear to be settling for the Vancouver Whitecaps. With only one loss in their last five MLS matches and only one loss in their last seven in all competitions, Vanni Sartini’s side is carrying the most confidence we’ve seen thus far during 2022.
With a win over Real Salt Lake this upcoming weekend, the Whitecaps would find themselves just one point back of the playoff placings and on an even number of games played with most of the teams around them in the standings. That being said, in an incredibly balanced Western Conference, the Whitecaps will likely have to keep up their quality play for an extended period if they want to be in contention come this fall.
Fortunately, this team looks to be getting healthy(ish) at the right time. Brian White is back from Health and Safety protocols and will start this weekend as Lucas Cavallini is “away” with Canada for international duty. Ryan Gauld has also been training this week and will be a decision made closer to game-time if he will be available. Tristan Blackmon also trained with the team this week and look to be on a good recovery path. Caio Alexandre, who played 60 minutes for VWFC2 last weekend, should feature against RSL but won't start. Andres Cubas, who is away with Paraguay this window, will join the team prior to the fixture against Seattle. Finally, Cristian Dajome is out for this weekend, as well as Russell Teibert and Thomas Hasal.
Real Salt Lake, for what it’s worth, have been a pleasant surprise in the West so far this year. While they decided not to make radical changes to their side, committing to Pablo Mastroeni and not making any splashy signings, they were able to bring in Venezuelan forward Sergio Córdova on loan from Augsburg and also re-acquire Jefferson Savarino from Brazil.
Overall, this RSL team has won and lost matches this year through their front four, and has made a business of winning close games, as five of their seven victories so far have come by a single goal. Overall, this has been a one of the better teams in MLS so far, and their underlying numbers have only been marred slightly by two standout road losses: a 6-0 rout at the hands of NYCFC and a 2-0 loss in Nashville, other than that, this team has played prototypical winning football thus far.
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.