There are two reasons why Eric Hassli would be a key player in the game. First he has feasted on TFC scoring three goals in the two official games and one in the abandoned one. Secondly, he is playing against Henry and Harden, arguably the weakest pair of central defenders in MLS.
Similar to Hassli, Maicon Santos has had success when facing the Whitecaps scoring in each of the two games. With Alan Gordon most likely unavailable due to injury TFC will need to count on their Brazilian striker to come through once again.
With DeMerit possibly not playing due to injury it will come down to Alain Rochat solidifying the backline for the Whitecaps. While there is question if he starts as a central defender or on the left side of the backline, don’t except Rochat to venture forward too regularly.
With the backline depleted with injury Stephae Frei will need to come up big for TFC to have an opportunity to get a result in either game. The Swiss goalkeeper has stood on his head this year yet the Toronto club have just two victories.
WHO’S ON FORM
There is very little doubt that Joe Cannon was the best Whitecap on the Livestrong pitch last week in Kansas City. While he did allow two goals, one from a PK and one from point blank range, he kept the game and scoreline respectable for the Caps.
With so many injuries on the backline Richard Eckersly has been a pleasant surprise for the TFC brass at the right back position. The Manuchester United Academy player is very solid defensively and is very capable of making an impact when moving forward.
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 2-1 Loss at Sporting Kansas City
9th in Eastern Conference
Last Game: 3-1 Loss at Real Salt Lake
QUESTIONABLE: DF Jay DeMerit (groin), DF Alain Rochat (quad)
OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba(knee), DF Adrian Cann (knee), DF, Dicoy Williams (knee), MF Jacob Peterson (hamstring), FW Alan Gordon (abdominal)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Julian DeGuzman (calf), MF Tony Tchani (ankle), DF Nana Attakora (quad), FW Maicon Santos (hamstring)
The Vancouver Whitecaps enter their matchup with their MLS Canadian rivals, Toronto FC, coming off one their poorest performances of the season. It was the team’s lack of energy that was the biggest cause for concern for a team that preaches being one of the fittest teams in league.
Both teams are looking to rebound from disappointing starts to the new season and this is best chance for both club clubs to turn things around and climb out or avoid the MLS basement. There are many questions as to what their roster will look like as they face each other again on Saturday for the Voyageur's Cup. Another factor is with both teams missing significant players, due to Vancouver and Toronto's injury issues as well.
If the Caps are to start their best available eleven then Hassli should start up top with Camilo sitting behind as the hole. The Wings will have Salinas on the right side and either Teibert or Nanchoff and a combo of central midfielders that include either Dunfield, Koffie or Brovsky. The backline is the unkown factor in this game for the Whitecaps as due to the question marks surronding DeMerit it will impact where everyone else plays.
If DeMerit is unavailable then expect Rochat to slide over to the center partnering up with either Boxall or Janicki. If Rochat does start in the middle then expect Leathers to move from his right position to the left and the team bringing either Duckett or Knight at the right back position. Joe Cannon is slowly becoming the Caps' last line of defense and regular Contributar to SNL goal.
With Camilo playing in the middle the Whitecaps will have for the first time since the Soehn took over two typical wingers. Salinas and whoever will play on the left side will have to push forward with the strikers to provide quality service. With the TFC's fullbacks liking the idea of making runs both wingers will have to pay close attention.
Another weakness that the Caps will have to expose is the center of the backline with their their top 3 players being unavailable due to injury. If the wing service can improve, Hassli will need to take advantage of the Doniel Henry and Ty Harden partnership.
The Caps will have to remain compact defensively in the central midfield as they face Total Football for a couple of games straight. Also, if Santos decides to play the Caps will have to keep a close on him as he has scored twice in two games.
With a victory the Caps will leapfrog over TFC and get out of the MLS basement as they try to make a desparate push for the playoffs. The club will remain in Toronto to train as they will face TFC once again at BMO field the day after Canada Day to decide the Canadian Championship.