Vancouver Whitecaps – San Jose
KEY PLAYERS :
After going through a rough patch of performances, most of them coming as a sub, Camilo Sanvezzo is starting to find the form that made him team MVP last season. He is looking more dangerous coming off the left wing but still needs to show more confidence in his shot as it seems like he is a little gun shy. He has added an impressive defensive side of his game, if Wednesday’s game is anything to go by.
Acquired in the offseason from FC Dallas, Marvin Chavez is a dynamic player with pace who can whip a nice cross in. Playing on the right side of the midfield, he is leading the Quakes in assists with eight and even contributed with his first goal on Wednesday.
After completing his one game suspension for yellow card accumulation, Alain Rochat returns to lineup against the Earthquakes. It has also been a while since he has played on the backline, five games, but his return there will benefit the Caps as he brings more physicality and more attack to the position.
The battle of the midfield will be a key and one of the better young holding midfielders in MLS is Sam Cronin. The former draft pick of TFC competes hard for the ball with timely tackles and is showing the ability to contribute offensively in his fourth MLS season.
WHO’S ON FORM :
It was quite a home debut for Barry Robson in front of a sold out crowd at BC Place. Not only did he score a goal but he also controlled the midfield with Koffie. The Scot was very dangerous throughout the match, especially on set pieces where he came very close to giving the Caps a third and grabbing the win.
The much travelled striker Alan Gordon seems to have found a home playing next to Chris Wondolowski up front. Since starting in place of the injured Steven Lenhart, the forward has three goals in four starts and four goals in his last six appearances.
2012 RECORD :
4th in Western Conference
Last Match: 2-2 Draw vs LA Galaxy
1st in Western Conference
Last Match: 2-1 Win vs FC Dallas
PROJECTED LINE-UPS :
Out: FW Omar Salgado (foot)
Questionable: MF John Thorrington (quad), FW Atiba Harris (knee)
Away with U18s: MF Bryce Alderson, FW Caleb Clarke
Out: MF Romiro Corrales (back), MF Sam Garza (rib), MF Joey Gjertsen (knee), FW Steven Lenhart (concussion), DF Tim Ward (muscle)
GAME ANALYSIS :
The Whitecaps return to their home pitch as they try to forget their disappointment against LA and focus on their next opponents, the Conference leading Earthquakes from San Jose. The two clubs have split their first two meetings of the season, with San Jose winning 3-1 at home, while the Caps did the same by scoring a late winner at BC Place for a 2-1 victory.
There is no surprise who starts in goal as Joe Cannon returns and could have his top backline in front of him with Lee on the right side with Rochat on the left. The central pairing will be Jay DeMerit and Martin Bonjour, with Jun Marques Davison in front of them as the holding midfielder.
The two other central midfielders will be Gershon Koffie and Barry Robson who paired well in the last match against the Galaxy. Up top Darren Mattocks will start as the striker where he will be flanked by Dane Richards and Camilo on the left side, with a chance that Kenny Miller starts on the bench.
For the fourth straight game, the Whitecaps are either saying goodbye to a key player or welcoming one to the fold. This time it is their first designated player Eric Hassli who was traded to TFC for a 1ST round pick in 2014 and an international spot. Whilst this recent trade came as a shock for many, considering how much Hassli was playing the trade really makes sense.
On the pitch the Caps now have two ways to attack, through the middle with Koffie and Robson, and down the wing using the pace of Richards. In addition, the Quakes have never faced the speed of Darren Mattocks as he makes his runs down the middle of the pitch.
When defending, while it is easy to say, the Caps must keep track of Chris Wondowloski, who is on record breaking pace for goals in MLS. They can’t allow him to slip away from them and find space in and around the box or they will be digging the ball out of their net. Another part of San Jose’s game that the Whitecaps will have to take care of is their ability to cross the ball from wide areas.
The Whitecaps will have a tough task to beat the best team in the league twice in a year, even if they are playing them at home two times. With so many fan favourites leaving, the pressure will be on the new look side to get immediate positive results but there will need to some patience displayed by the supporters. However if this team plays the full 90+ minutes they are capable of, acquiring the full three points as they enter the non existent All-Star break is very achievable.
Club Friendly Preview: Paris Saint-Germain – Chelsea
The friendly at Yankee stadium offers PSG an early chance to test its might against one of Europe’s tradition powers.
PSG Nicolas; Maxwell, Lugano, Alex, Loick; Menez, Mathieu, Verratti, Nene, Pastore; Lavezzi
Chelsea Hilário; Ferreira, Luiz, Chalobah, Ivanovic; Marin, McEachran, Lampard, Hazard, Obi Mikel; Lukaku