The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to rebound from their worst defeat of the season as they face the Chicago Fire for the second time this season. Their first meeting in Chicago ended in a goalless draw in which both teams failed to generate few scoring chances. Both clubs sit at the bottom of their respective conferences and also hold the bottom two spots in MLS.
Whether Camilo play up front with Hassli or on the wing, the Caps need the Brazilian to continue his ability to score goals. One of the few bright spots for the expansion team, he has scored six times this season and has become a threat on set pieces.
Similar to Camilo, Marco Pappa can play up top or winger and has also scored five goals for the Chicago Fire this season. The Guatemalan international is an experienced player in MLS joining the Fire in 2008 and is their biggest scoring option from the midfield.
The last games the backline has been played poorly giving up six goals but it could’ve been worse if not for Joe Cannon. The MLS veteran goalkeeper will see the same four in front of him so Cannon will need to up his game and help organize the others in front of him.
Leading the team in minutes played Gonzalo Segares has played every minute, except for seven, for the Fire’s backline. The Costa Rican left back is playing in his seventh season in MLS, all for Chicago and is one of their most dependable defenders.
WHO’S ON FORM
In the past several games Gershon Koffie has improved his game to a point where the Caps are looking at the teenager to lead in the midfield. He always excelled in tackling and controlling the ball, it’s his distribution that has taken his game to another level.
Only in his first game with the club, Pavel Pardo made an immediate impact scoring a goal in his debut and earned a draw against Philadelphia. The Mexican international will play a holding role but will the Fire will also look for him to move up in the attack.
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 4-0 Loss at Los Angeles Galaxy
9th in Eastern Conference
Last Game: 1-1 Draw vs Philadelphia Union
PROBABLE: DF Jay DeMerit (adductor), MF Davide Chiumiento (calf)
OUT: DF Steven Kinney (groin), MF Marko Maric (back), DF Mike Banner (knee), DF Corey Gibbs (groin)
DOUBTFUL: FW Gabriel Ferrari (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: FW Diego Chaves (knee)
After giving up for four goals in their last game against the Galaxy at home, for their worst defeat by goal margin, the Whitecaps look to redeem themselves against a team that has an equal amount of wins this season. This will be an important game for the club to get three points, not just for their improbable playoff push but to help supporters forget last week’s result. They face a team that played a mid-week match at home and must travel to the west coast now to face the Whitecaps.
Goalkeeper Joe Cannon will have the same leaky backline that gave up six goals in the last two games with Rochat and Boxall in the middle while Harvey and Leathers play the full back positions. The midfield and forward positions will see some shuffling with Jarju on international duty and Chiumiento picking up an injury. In the midfield Vagenas comes back to partner with Koffie as Salinas and Khalfan will play the wings. Up front Hassli will be joined by Camilo, who will come from his midfield spot to take a striker’s position.
In the first matchup with Chicago, the Whitecaps became frustrated with the slow defensive play of the Fire and were unable to generate very few quality chances. They allowed Chicago to set the pace of the game which ended up in a goalless draw. This time the Caps must become aggressive in their attack from the beginning and try to take advantage of a potential tired team. The attack must not stop if they pick up the first goal as they have allowed teams to get back in the game and their backline is lacking in recent matches.
The playoffs seem to be a distant dream at this point of the season with only fifteen points so far this season. However there is a chance that the Whitecaps can turn around their season into a decent first campaign and something to build on for next season. This game against the Fire, a team with similar issues this season, could be their best chance to start on the road to respectability.