The Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Southern California to face Chivas USA in a midweek matchup that is their second meeting of the year. In their last game neither team could find the back of the net as both clubs settled for a scoreless draw which was Vancouver’s first cleansheet in MLS.
With the coaching change the biggest question is where will Davide Chiumiento play in the formation for Tom Soehn. Chiumineto was told when he was signed that it would be a central position that he would play and since it was Soehn that signed the Swiss playmaker we might see this happen against Chivas.
The Goats came into this season expecting a lot from American striker Justin Braun and he has so far produced three goals. However all three goals came against New York two matches ago and Braun has scored none since. With Moreno on international duty and Bowen out with injury Chivas will count on Braun for more scoring.
Another expected change in the line-up is in goal where MLS vet Joe Cannon is expected to take over for Jay Nolly. Cannon had a start in the second match of the season against Philadelphia where he kept the team in the game with some spectacular saves. Since then the fourth highest player on the team has only seen action in reserve games.
Heath Pearce was brought in to Chivas from Dallas to bolster the backline on the left side but due to injury to Jimmy Conrad, he now has to play a central role. With his partner Andrew Boyens on international duty there will be more pressure on Pearce to lead the backline
WHO’S ON FORM
In the Caps last three games, league and Nutrilite, Eric Hassli has scored a goal in each of them, even though one didn’t count due the abandonment of the match. Hassli is starting to develop a solid chemistry with Chiumiento and Camilo which they look to continue against Chivas.
Canadian defender had quite a game for Chivas last week as he helped preserve a draw as he cleared two shots off the line and added an assist to tie for the lead in the team. Jazic has performed well this season especially with Pearce being brought in to replace him.
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 1-1 Draw vs New York Red Bulls
7th in Western Conference
Last Game: 3-3 Draw at Columbus Crew
DOUBTFUL: DF Jonathan Leathers (calf) , FW Long Tan (foot)
PROBABLE: DF Micael Lahoud (concussion), MF Paulo Nagamura (calf), FW Tristan Bowen (ankle), DF Seth Owusu (knee)
The Whitecaps are starting with a clean slate with the coaching change this week from Thordarson to Soehn. While there will be tactical changes in store for the club, it still unknown how quickly the new coach will implement them. One decision that will be made is who will replace Terry Dunfield in the central midfield as he is off on international duty with Canada for the Gold Cup. Will Chiumiento be moved to a central attacking midfield role or will he bring in Brovsky, who has started in that role. Another couple of options to pair with Gershon Koffie are MLS vets Peter Vagenas or Kevin Harmse, both of who have not seen a start this year.
On the backline Knight, DeMerit and Rochat should return to start this game with there being a chance that Akloul steps in for Janicki in the other center half spot. Up front there is little doubt that both Hassli, two game scoring streak, and Camilo, earned a penalty kick last week, will start and we should see Salgado come off the bench to spell one of the starters. Nizar Khalfan is away for an African Cup qualifier and if Chiumiento is moved inside then Salinas and Teibert should start on the wing. Another big change could be in goal as goalkeeper coach and Jay Nolly’s biggest supporter Mike Salmon was let go with Thordarson which may mean that Joe Cannon sees his second start of the year.
On the other hand Chivas USA, from last weeks starting eleven, have lost three starters (Moreno, Elliott, Boyens) to international duty and one player Flores to suspension. They will miss these players in addition to Conrad, Gaven and Bowen who are still listed as injured. In fact Chivas will be missing six players from the starting line-up that took the pitch at Empire six and a half weeks ago. Another factor could be travel as both teams played over the weekend but Vancouver will have to travel down the coast and Chivas had to fly back from Ohio where they drew Columbus at three goals.
A coaching change sometimes brings instant results for the club making the transition as the players are looking to impress the new coach. Coupled with the fact that Chivas are very shorthanded with injuries and international call ups, this could be a great chance for the Caps to pick up their first road win. The Goats did not have to deal with players like DeMerit, Salinas and Koffie in their first meeting while Hassli was not in true form as he was playing in fear of getting more cautions.
The Whitecaps must not approach this road match, like the others in the past, with tentativeness and must try to pressure a weakened backline that gave up three goals against the low scoring Crew last week. There are many in the MLS world that have questioned this coaching change which was made so early in their first season. A positive result in the midweek return matchup with Chivas USA will go a long way to proving those experts right or wrong.