After dropping their home opener last week, the Vancouver Whitecaps will face Sporting Kansas City tonight in their first road game of the season.
Time: 5:30 pm
TV: TSN 2
Last weekend the Whitecaps’ defence, which was as solid as a rock in 2015, had an uncharacteristically bad game.
Newcomer Fraser Aird, who was playing in his MLS debut, had a match to forget as did most of the other defenders with the exception of Jordan Harvey, who scored his first goal since 2014. Goalkeeper David Ousted made several bizarre and poor decisions in what was perhaps the worst game of his Whitecaps career.
Absolutely gutted by the loss today. Not the way I wanted to start. Nothing to do but to get back to work and look ahead.
— David Ousted (@David_Ousted) March 7, 2016
Further up the pitch striker Octavio Rivero had several excellent chances to score, but was unable to convert his chances into goals.
This weekend the Whitecaps will have to recapture the defensive form from last year, and Rivero and his fellow forwards will have to find some goals. Ousted will undoubtedly have a better outing between the sticks, and it’s unlikely we’ll see another poor game from the Great Dane this weekend.
The Vancouver Whitecaps (0W-1L-0D; 0pts) lost 3-2 to the Montreal Impact in their 2016 MLS season opener while further down the I-5, Sporting Kansas City (1W-0L-0D; 3pts) defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 at CenturyLink Field.
Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson is not the type to panic, and unless Aird has had a particularly bad week at practice it’s not likely that Robbo will make a switch at right fullback. Jordan Smith, the other right fullback in the MLS squad, did not even make the substitutes bench for the Montreal match.
— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) March 10, 2016
In addition, Robinson will now have to make changes to his midfield after MLS announced on Thursday that Christian Bolaños had been given a one-match ban. He was also fined an undisclosed amount for a late tackle on the Impact’s Laurent Ciman in last Sunday’s loss.
Before the realignment of Major League Soccer prior to the start of the 2015 season, these two teams played in different conferences and rarely played each other.
The very first game between the Whitecaps and Sporting KC resulted in a six-goal thriller at Empire Field in 2011. That afternoon Sporting KC looked to be leaving with all three points, but striker Camilo Sanvezzo stole a point for the ‘Caps by scoring two goals deep in second half stoppage time.
Since that memorable first game the Whitecaps have struggled against SKC and have an all-time record of (1W-5L-2D). The Whitecaps’ only win came in 2014 here at BC Place when they won 2-0.
Last July the Whitecaps and Sporting played a very entertaining match here in Vancouver, with the ‘Caps came out on the wrong side of a 1-0 scoreline. Two minutes from full time Kendall Waston and SKC’s Dom Dwyer got into it after Dwyer was called offside. The stinging loss and the altercation at the end of the match left Whitecaps fans salivating for the rematch in Kansas City later that summer.
When the two teams met at Children’s Mercy Park a month later the ‘Caps were leading 3-1 and looked like they were cruising to their first ever win in KCMO. With less than ten minutes to go Dwyer got behind Pa Modou Kah and nodded the ball past David Ousted to get his team back in the game.
By the time it was all over Kah finished the match with a broken cheekbone and Paulo Nagamura had scored two more goals for Sporting including the match winner in the fourth minute of injury time.
Who wins this game?
Since joining MLS the Whitecaps have never won in Kansas City, so they will be eager to find their form and get their season rolling. Sporting KC is a tough opponent, especially at home, so even a single point would be a good result for Vancouver.
I have to reluctantly predict a 2-1 win for Sporting Kansas City.