The Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Northern California to face the San Jose Earthquakes for the second time this season. In their previous matchup at Empire it was a late goal by Davide Chiumineto that salvaged a point for the Caps. Both teams are looking to break streaks as the Caps have lost four in a row while the Earthquakes have not won a game in six games.
After missing a couple of matches due to injury, Eric Hassli is a probable starter for the Whitecaps on Wednesday. It will very important do his normal job of holding up the ball to create space for his teammates on the attack.
Having not scored for the four games since the Gold Cup Chris Wondolowski is struggling and unlikely to match last year’s pace. The club needs to him to find his form quickly whether he’s playing up front or on the wing.
It’s expected that Jonathan Leathers will move to the left side with recent arrival Jordan Harvey unavailable due to suspension and Alain Rochat remaining in the middle. Their wingers like to attack so Leathers and whoever starts on the right side will have to be on their game.
American Bobby Burling leads a tough Quakes defense that doesn’t allow too many goals. While he has struggled with injury the large defender is starting to return to form, being named to the best 11 last week, and is excellent at clearing and recovering the ball.
WHO’S ON FORM
In all competitions Camilo has scored seven goals with four of them coming in his last eight starts but his it’s other parts of his game that are improving. The Brazilian striker played as a withdrawn striker connecting well his teammates and has been the most consistent Whitecap over the last few games.
The Earthquakes player this year has been goalkeeper Jon Busch as he is ranked 2nd in the league for save percentage while facing the 3rd most shots. He is coming off two straight games where did not allow a goal, picking up his 5th and 6th cleansheets of the year.
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 2-1 Loss at Colorado Rapids
7th in Western Conference
Last Game: 0-0 Draw vs Columbus
DOUBTFUL: DF Jay DeMerit (adductor), MF John Thorrington (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: Russell Teibert (hip)
PROBABLE: FW Davide Chiumiento (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: DF Steven Beitashour (leg)
QUESTIONABLE: MF Bobby Convey (knee), FW Alan Gordon (quadriceps)
The Whitecaps are desperate for a victory at this point of the season as they have not given up the hope of making the playoffs. Currently on a four game losing streak, the chances of ending that streak will not be easy facing one of the best in MLS. Of the new additions only Mustapha Jarju will be available as Jordan Harvey will have to serve a suspension due to an accumulation of cautions. The team will still be without their Captain Jay DeMerit as he recovers from an ongoing groin injury.
The starters up front will depend on if Hassli and Chiumiento are over their injuries and if they are ready to go then both should be starting. The departure of Dunfield means the central midfield will most likely have Vagenas and Koffie starting with Camilo and Salinas on the wings. The backline may return to the one before Harvey was acquired with Rochat and Boxall in the middle while Leathers is on the left and either Duckett or Knight is on the right. The goalkeeping duties should fall again to Joe Cannon who has made seven of the team’s last eight starts in goal.
The club got an unexpected break with the postponement of the Saturday match with Real Salt Lake due to poor field conditions. While they played the friendly on Monday, the starters only played a half and thus the team got an entire week before this match against the Earthquakes. The rest allowed many nagging injuries extra time to heal and decreased the chances that the players would re-injure themselves.
The Earthquakes are also on a negative streak as they have not won a game in the past six matches (2 losses, 4 draws). The main cause of this streak is their scoring which has dried up in the past six with only two goals and being shut out five times. They decided to shake things and made a three for one trade with TFC last week picking up Alan Gordan, Jacob Peterson and Nana Attakora.
The Whitecaps are showing signs that their possession style of play is starting to work even if the results are not showing. There are obvious keys the Whitecaps will need to improve on in order to pick up their first victory on the road. The attackers will need to capitalize on their chances and the defenders must avoid any momentary lapse in concentration. If they are able to accomplish both for the full 90 minutes then the Whitecaps might return back from California with three points.