The Whitecaps return home after a three game road trip to face the Philadelphia Union for the second time this season. Their first meeting saw the Caps lose with a late goal from Carlos Ruiz after being reduced to ten men after Eric Hassli received his second yellow card of the match.
With the Union being so strong in the middle of the back line, the Caps will need Shea Salinas to make his runs on the right side against his former team. In the past few games the midfielder has shown his pace but will need to make the runs count with a finished product.
Last year’s breakout player has had a tough time finding the back of the net as Sebastian Le Toux has only scored once despite leading the team in shots and playing every minute this season. The French striker will have to be marked closely as he is a capable of a breakout at any moment.
Being on international duty with the U.S., Jay DeMerit was unavailable for the first meeting with Philadelphia as the team started Rochat and Janicki in the middle. Another advantage of having their captain back is Alain Rochat will be able to play wide which hurt the team in the first game.
While Mondragon and Califf get the headlines for the Union’s defensive play, Carlos Valdes has been a rock for the team playing for every minute of the season. The Colombian defender has solidified the center of the defense which has helped the Union average less than a goal per game against.
WHO’S ON FORM
What more can be said of Eric Hassli and his goal against the Sounders last week but despite that the Frenchman has been playing well for the Whitecaps. He has now scored six goals in ten games with a .75 rate per 90 minute game. Hassli will need to stay disciplined as he only lasted 57 minutes after receiving two yellows against Philadelphia.
The 1st overall pick in 2010 Danny Mwanga leads the team in goals with four despite only starting in seven of the team’s twelve games this season. All four of the sophmore’s scores have come over the last month in which he started in three games and played in five
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 2-2 Draw at Seattle Sounders
2nd in Eastern Conference
Last Game: 1-1 Draw vs Real Salt Lake
OUT: FW Atiba Harris (knee), MF John Thorrington (calf), MF Philippe Davies (ankle), GK Jay Nolly (foot)
PROBABLE: MF Michael Nanchoff (ankle)
PROBABLE: MF Gabriel Farfan (quad)
The Whitecaps return home to Empire Field from their three game road trip (2 Draws and a Loss) and for the first time since Tom Soehn took over for the fired Teitur Thordarson. While their last game in Seattle showed some signs of the team turning their play around, it still didn’t yield a victory and three points. This game is another opportunity for the Caps to secure their second win of the season as Philadelphia travels across the continent this weekend.
The line-up will be very similar to last week in Seattle with Hassli and Chiumiento starting at forward while Camilo and Salinas remain at the wing positions. There is a chance that Terry Dunfield may be ready to start after coming back from the Gold Cup but most likely it will be Brovsky and Koffie starting in the central midfield. The backline should remain unchanged as Rochat, Akloul, DeMerit and Leathers start in front of Joe Cannon who makes his fourth straight start.
The Union have one of the strongest defenses in the league as they have allowed the second fewest goals against in the league. However as strong as their defensive play has been this year, their ability to score has been just as weak. If you remove their 6-2 win against Toronto FC earlier this year, in twelve games Philadelphia has only score ten goals.
It is the reason why the Whitecaps must get the first goal against Philadelphia because if they don’t and Philadelphia scores first, the Union will play defensive and frustrate the Caps. Opening the scoring will force the Union to attack more which will create more chances for Vancouver to score again. The Whitecaps are now at the bottom of the MLS table so if they are still entertaining the idea of making the playoffs they must start converting their home draws into home victories.