Have you finished celebrating that wonderful 3-0 win over FC Dallas yet? I certainly hope so. The Vancouver Whitecaps have a busy schedule ahead of them, with a midweek tilt against Sporting Kansas City tonight their next challenge.
Can the ‘Caps build some momentum and push themselves back into a playoff spot, or was the Dallas result a one-off?
Venue: BC Place
Time: 7:30 p.m.
The win against Dallas pushed Vancouver’s 2016 home record to 2W-1L-1D. That may seem decent until you look at the top five teams in the Western Conference and see big ol’ goose eggs for home losses. Good teams – or playoff teams, at least – turn their home turf into a den of fear and trepidation for the visitors.
For goodness’ sake, there’s a living brick wall tandem in the forms of Kendall Waston on defence and David Ousted in goal. That alone should be enough to inspire confidence in the ‘Caps and dread in their opponents. I’m getting chills just typing this paragraph.
The Whitecaps have to make their home base a fortress again; two wins in two matches would certainly help rebuild that reputation before heading on the road to NYCFC.
Strike While the Iron is Hot
To be clear, winning, period, is good. (#Analysis, folks.) Going two-for-two wouldn’t just be nice for putting points on the board, it’s crucial for returning to the playoff hunt. As it happens, who’s just above the ‘Caps in 6th place?
Sporting Kansas City. Well, how about that.
SKC are on a three-game losing streak, which means you’ll never find a better time to crush a would-be playoff opponent. Hit Sporting while they’re down and they may have a rough time recovering in the crucible that is the Western Conference. A draw, while not the end of the world, isn’t exactly roses for either side.
A loss… Well, let’s try and stay optimistic for once, shall we?
Benny, Benny, Benny
As a casual follower of the US Men’s National Team, I know all about SKC’s contributions to the midfield and defence. One of those contributions, Benny Feilhaber, has been a playmaker wizard for his club in recent times yet outright ignored by national team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
Maybe that continual snub has a chip on Feilhaber’s shoulder. Maybe not. Either way, Feilhaber is still a threat in the midfield and easily SKC’s danger-man. Winning the midfield battle will likely decide the match.
2-1 Vancouver. Another three-goal outing would be a tall ask of our ‘Caps against Sporting. Two, however, seems about right, provided Feilhaber can be kept in check – though I’ve put him down for an assist on SKC’s goal regardless. Combined with another stellar goalkeeping performance and some solid work on defence and presto: one victory and a home reputation on the rise.