KEY PLAYERS: ATTACKING
With Eric Hassli serving another suspension and Atiba Harris injured Camilo will be the main striker for the Whitecaps. The Brazilian has scored three times this season and will have to expect more attention from the Crew’s defenders.
With the changes that were made in the offseason Columbus is looking for Robbie Rodgers to be the leader of the offense. The former first round pick has two goals so far this season and is becoming more consistent off the wing.
KEY PLAYERS: DEFENSE
With the Crew’s offense coming off the wings Jonathan Leathers and whoever plays on the left side will have to be aware of Rodgers and Gaven. Who starts on the left side will depend on if they feel Greg Janicki or Mouloud Akloul is ready to go at CB which will allow Rochat to move outside.
The two-time MLS defender of the year Chad Marshall is the leader of one of the stingiest group of defenders in the league. Widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the league, Marshall will look to stop the Whitecaps attack.
WHO’S ON FORM
Making his first start since game two of the season Russell Teibert had a great game against Montreal as he was the most dangerous player in the final third. Teibert can hurt the opposition with his accurate crosses as well as his speed down the left wing as he set up the only goal versus the Impact.
After allowing three goals in the season opener goalkeeper Will Hesmer has allowed only one in five games including four cleansheets. The Crew will struggle to score goals this season and will have to rely on Hesmer to provide strong goalkeeping.
Last Game: 1-0 Win at Montreal Impact (Voyaguer's Cup)
Last Game: 1-1 Draw at Toronto FC
Camilo starts up front with either Khalfan or Salgado if Teitur goes against what he is saying about bring the rookie along slowly. The midfield will be like opening night as Chiumiento, and Teibert will be on the wings and Dunfield starts with returning Gershon Koffie in the central midfield. The one wildcard in the midfield is if Shea Salinas is ready to go a full 90 or will he start on the bench. If Janicki is deemed healthy, he will start with either Boxall or Akloul which will allow Rochat to move outside with Leathers on the right side. It’s a coin flip as to whether Cannon or Nolly start in goal.
The Crew plays a 4-2-3-1 formation normally with Renteria as the target man and Okpo playing in behind him. Okpo along with wingers Rodgers and Gaven will sometimes look like a second striker from time to time. Both Duka and Burns play as the holding midfielders with Duka normally the one to slide forward from time to time. The back four has started every single game so far with Miranda and Balchan on the outside and Marshall and James in the middle. There is no doubt that Will Hesmer will see the start in goal.
QUESTIONABLE: MF John Thorrington(quad), MF Michael Nanchoff (groin),
PROBABLE: MF Shea Salinas (knee), DF Greg Janicki (hip)
QUESTIONABLE: DF Josh Williams (hip
The Whitecaps are playing in their third road game of their season and are still looking for a result as they fell in Philadelphia and Houston. In the previous two games they were close to getting a result in Philadelphia, playing with ten men for 30 minutes, and giving up a late goal while in Houston the game was a lot closer as individual mistakes led to the goals. The Whitecaps should see both their midfield and backline at their strongest so far this season as their roster seems to be getting healthier.
If Salgado doesn’t start up front, the Whitecaps will be lacking a true target man as both forwards will be less than six feet. The Caps will have to be patient when on the attack they face one of the toughest defenses in the MLS. Playing a simple game will help and they will have to get shots on the net if they look to score on Hesmer. When facing the Crew’s attacking players the Caps have to be aware of their two wingers as Rodgers and Gaven are the sparkplugs to the offense. Columbus is a very tough place to play and the Whitecaps would be very lucky to get a result in their third road game of the season.