Home stretch once again, and now it’s time to welcome Nashville to Vancouver. Our first trip to music city didn’t go so well in the hunt for maximum points so it’s time to return the favour and give them a proper Whitecaps welcome. Nashville is a solid team with playoff ambitions (Along with most of the western conference at this point) which makes the Whitecaps a stepping stone on the path to playoffs, and vice versa goes for Vancouver. Not much has changed in the last month, outside of the return of Hasal, so the objective remains the same. Win the home game to get to postseason. Nashville’s players have been on fire, especially Hany Mukhtar. He’s a game changer by himself and must be kept on watch at all times. Luckily we have our counter with Ryan Gauld, who is on a major hot streak at the moment, and been carrying results on his back recently. What the Whitecaps will need to do is score early, as waiting until the final ten to equalize or win is getting quite nerve-wracking every game, and if they wish to make it to the playoffs and go far, the strategy has to be changed.
The two teams stack up pretty evenly, but Nashville has been more effective in putting goals in the back of the net AND keeping them out of their own. They don’t have an amazing goal differential but the Whitecaps’ own tally is a far cry from it. The Whitecaps and Sartini should analyze Nashville to see how they can take the opponents natural stability and apply to themselves. Vancouver needs to find that stability mid table before dreaming big, and you feel the energy right now that it is something so close to being achievable yet we’re not quite there yet. Recruitment is the best that it’s been in years so now the performances need to reflect that. With a game changer like Gauld, and support in Gressel and Cubas, the Whitecaps are becoming formidable, it’s just a matter of whether they can truly become that or continue to pretend to be so.
Even though they’re evenly matched, I do think that the Whitecaps have a major edge when playing at home so I’m inclined to give them a hard fought 2-1 victory. Let’s say it’s a comeback victory as Randall Leal scores the opener but Gauld will assist Cavallini for the first, and Ricketts scores a super sub goal at the death.