Can Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-1L-0D) make it five straight wins? That’s the goal tonight when the first place ‘Caps host Columbus Crew (1W-2L-0D) at BC Place.
Wednesday’s match will conclude a three-match homestand for the Blue and White – they won’t be back at BC Place until April 25.
Match Day: Wednesday, April 8
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Venue: BC Place
Radio: TSN 1410
After dropping their season opener, the in-form ‘Caps have now won four straight matches to jump into the top spot in Major League Soccer.
This is Vancouver’s longest winning streak and best start to an MLS season.
Most recently, Whitecaps FC cruised to a convincing 2-0 win over the defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy. Kekuta Manneh and Octavio Rivero provided the scoring for Whitecaps FC in a match that saw them outshoot their West Coast counterparts by an 18-6 margin.
Rivero, who was named MLS Player of the Month last week, now has a league-leading four goals in his first five matches. Also of note, David Ousted is tied for the league lead with three clean sheets and Pedro Morales is second in MLS with three assists.
“It was a good performance against a good team, but it’s finished with,” assistant coach Gordon Forrest said this week. “We have a really important game on Wednesday… we haven’t done anything yet.”
With Wednesday being Vancouver’s second match in the span of a week, head coach Carl Robinson said to expect some changes to his lineup against Columbus. Robinson has a few players nursing injuries in Mauro Rosales (ankle sprain) and Gershon Koffie (MCL sprain), but will have Diego Rodriguez available once again after the centre back’s two-match suspension.
“We have a fantastic roster with a number of players who can come in and out of the team,” Forrest said. “And we want to try and win every game. We still have a few decisions to make. We’ve looked at a few formation thoughts and player thoughts … we have good options because we have a good roster.”
The Crew, who are coming off a bye week, enter Wednesday’s contest with a 1W-2L-0D record.
Their most recent result was a 2-1 loss to New York Red Bulls – a match that proved costly as attacking midfielder Federico Higuain picked up two yellow cards and will therefore miss Wednesday’s match due to suspension.
One player who may be back in the fold, however, is central midfielder Wil Trapp. The 22-year-old, who missed the New York match with a calf injury, is back to full training and listed as questionable for Wednesday’s match. Forward Justin Meram, a member of Iraq’s national team, will also likely feature in the team after returning from international duty.
Other players to watch include striker Kei Kamara and midfielder Ethan Finlay, who was tied with Higuain for the team-high in goals (11) and assists (7) last season. He also leads the team with nine chances created through three matches.
The ‘Caps have a slight all-time edge over Columbus with a 3W-2L-0D record, including wins in each of their last three meetings. Last season, Whitecaps FC earned a 1-0 road victory over the Crew on the strength of Erik Hurtado’s first career MLS goal.