Welcome back everyone.
This weekend, the Whitecaps face another critical Western Conference match up against Nashville SC.
Back at the end of July, a late Javain Brown goal salvaged a point for the Whitecaps in Tennessee. With the Whitecaps currently two points behind Nashville in the playoff race and level on games played, this match-up will present a huge opportunity for Vancouver to improve their playoff potential come decision day. As has been said for a while now, the Whitecaps must take full points from their remaining home dates to make the playoffs, so as much as gritty road results are good to see, this is where the blue and white will have to be clinical.
In terms of the match-up itself, Nashville has just one win in their last seven fixtures, which has been pretty helpful for the Whitecaps. Despite this though, Nashville did romp to a 4-0 result against Dallas at home last weekend, so they seem to have found some late-season form.
Hany Mukhtar is dangerous as always, coming off a brace against Dallas and with a whopping 16 goals and 6 assists already this year. Equally, the Whitecaps will have to watch out for young Canadian Jacob Shaffelburg, who after a move away from Toronto, scored in his first start for Nashville last time out.
If Nashville has a weakness in their squad, it’s that they rely a lot on their top guys to get the job done. Outside of Muhktar, Leal, and Sapong, they don’t have many consistent offensive threats, and the same could be said defensively, where they are very reliant on Walker Zimmerman to hold things down in the back four.
Overall though, Nashville’s underlying numbers have been very good as they have the second best expected goal differential in the West at +9.0, even though in reality their goal difference is only +2. There have been a couple of key losses this year: 4-1 away to Charlotte, and more recently, 4-3 at home to Toronto, that have really prevented Nashville from being as far up the standings as these matches were full of missed opportunities for them. All that being said, it’s good news for Vancouver, who has the chance to jump the visitors in the standings with a three-point result.
In terms of who is available, Javain Brown is the only guy for Vancouver who was a question going into this week, but it looks like he’s back up to full speed this week at training. Striker and the central midfield are two other areas where there could be some shake up.
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.