The Vancouver Whitecaps will attempt to accomplish two firsts for their franchise in MLS by winning two games in a row and earning three points on the road. The opponent they try to accomplish this goal is one of the MLS originals as the Caps travel east to face D.C. United. The match may see the return of their Captain Jay DeMerit as well as designated player Mustapha Jarju who was away on international duty.
With Hassli picking up the majority of headlines, it is easy to overlook the efforts of Camilo on the pitch from an attacking aspect. The Brazilian striker turned winger was involved in three of the four goals against the Fire. Camilo is dangerous around the box and would be in double figures for goals if he was allowed to take half of the penalties he has earned.
The 24-year-old winger Chris Pontius is having a breakthrough season for D.C. United as he has already surpassed his previous high for goals in a season with five. The former Gaucho has added two assists to his total while starting every game for D.C. United and only being taken off once before the seventy minute mark.
The game against DC United might see the return of their captain as Jay DeMerit may return to the starting eleven after being unavailable for the last six league matches. The return could not come at a better time with Alain Rochat out of the game with a similar injury that DeMerit had. The Captain will especially help with the organization, lacking in the past few matches, of the backline.
It will be only the third start for Dejan Jakovic who missed eight games after suffering an injury playing for Canada in a friendly versus Ecuador prior to the Gold Cup. The central defender will most likely be given the task of having to deal with Eric Hassli in the middle of the pitch. The ex-Red Star player relies on positioning and defensive awareness to get the job done.
WHO’S ON FORM
The Whitecaps first designated player, Eric Hassli, has been on a good streak scoring four goals in his last three starts as well as six goals in his last six starts. Even in games he hasn’t scored in recently the big Frenchman is still playing well holding up the ball for teammates and also been able to avoid the referees as he has not picked up a card in over two months.
There is no one hotter in MLS than Canadian International Dwayne De Rosario who has scored five goals in the last two weeks. In fact he has scored the last six goals for D.C. United. The Whitecaps have already face DeRo twice already conceding a goal in the opener against TFC and no goals in the game against New York.
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 4-2 Win vs Chicago Fire
6th in Eastern Conference
Last Game: 3-3 Draw vs Toronto FC
QUESTIONABLE: DF Alain Rochat (adductor)
PROBABLE: MF Kurt Morsink, GK Joe Willis (finger)
The Vancouver Whitecaps will try to break their pattern of what happens in the next game after a victory. In each of the two games after a win the Caps have travelled east to face an opponent after securing three points and in each time the result has been a loss. After their opening victory the team travelled to face the Union, lost Hassli and lost the game by a late goal while their second victory was followed up by a loss to the Sporting KC. Even after the ‘Miracle on Hastings’, which felt like a win, the Whitecaps lost to the Houston Dynamo by two goals.
As Mustapha Jarju will not be available because he is returning from international duty, expect Eric Hassli to start up front with Davide Chiumiento playing as a withdrawn striker. The wings will see Camilo and Shea Salinas playing those spots while Gershon Koffie will pair with Peter Vagenas, although if John Thorrington could see his second consecutive start. The backline has Jordan Harvey and Jonathan Leathers playing full backs while Jay DeMerit will start alongside Kiwi rookie Michael Boxall. The goalkeeping position remains in the air as both got starts last week with Jay Nolly starting in the league match and Joe Cannon starting in the reserve one.
Their next two games could be the best opportunity to pick up their first wins on the road with this game especially viable as DCU has one of the worst records at home for any MLS team. The team will have to contend with the heat and humidity, something that has been a problem for them so far this season. United weakest part of their formation is their backline, especially at full back where both regular starters lack starting experience. With their regular starter in goal suspended due to a red card, United will have to turn to Steve Cronin who turned into an adventure upon his entrance.
While it won’t be easy for the Caps to pick up their first road victory, it is not totally out of the question either. The most important factor for the Whitecaps in this match is not to come out flat and try to get that early lead like last week. It’s also vital that the players don’t look past this game to the match the following week against the Timbers in Portland.