After a stunning and surprising comeback against Sporting Kansas City, the Vancouver Whitecaps look to get back on track today against the New York Red Bulls, with a pivotal midweek clash leaving them a chance to pick up 3 points as they slowly start to heat up a playoff push. They head into this one walking wounded, as the famed West Coast injury bug that seems to hit their Vancouver counterparts on the ice every season has worked its way over to the lads in White. The bad luck of late has continued off the pitch as well, with the team flying into New York late last night (2 am) after an airplane malfunction left them grounded in Kansas. With all that behind them, they hope to muster up enough energy and courage to take on the Red Bulls, last year’s MLS Supporters Shield winners who look to have finally found their old ways after a slow start to the season.
Injuries: Jhesser Khemiri (Knee, Day-To-Day), Micheal Baldisimo (Ankle, Day-To-Day), Felipe (Ankle, Day-To-Day), Jon Erice (Ankle, Day-To-Day), Lass Bangoura (Hamstring, Week-To-Week), Yordy Reyna (Hamstring, Week-To-Week), Doneil Henry (Hamstring, Week-To-Week), David Norman Jr (Foot, Month-To-Month)
As mentioned earlier, the Whitecaps have accumulated quite the injury list over the last few weeks, with the toll of their travel schedule seemingly having appeared to catch up to them. It will be hard to project who MDS goes for in this one, but it appears the back 4 will be relatively settled, with Adnan staying in, Cornelius slotting in for Henry, Godoy staying in alongside them, while Jake Nerwinski prepares for a homecoming of sorts to his home state. In goal, Maxime Crepeau stays in after a strong week, as his form continues to catch eyes all around MLS. In the midfield, it’s likely Russell Teibert, Andy Rose and Hwang In Beom stay together, with Jon Erice and Felipe both nursing injuries. Up top, we could see a South American trio of PC, Lucas Venuto and either Joaquin Ardaiz or Fredy Montero, depending on what Dos Santos sees fit. While it is not quite a full-strength lineup, there is still a lot to work with and they could provide an upset on the road, something not all that uncommon in MLS. While it is unclear what kind of style Marc Dos Santos will take to approach this one, he does have some options despite his injury woes.
BTSVancity Player to Watch:
Our player to watch in this one falls to the back line, with Derek Cornelius getting the nod. After struggling to start the season, he made a big statement in the Kansas game, scoring a dramatic winner with a stunning volley, showcasing some of the other skills he has in his locker. Look for him to step up with Henry out (for now), showcasing why he is looked to be one of the future staples of the Canadian Men’s national team. Also, as mentioned by a few online, he only switched from Striker to Defender a few years ago, so there is only room for him to grow into the position as he goes along.
Honourable Mentions: Jake Nerwinski, Max Crepeau
After having some bad luck in Kansas, including injuries, bad weather and a delayed flight, the Caps look to drop some of that aura and put some smiles back on players and fans alike, with this pivotal clash looming. While their scheduling has not been great (when is it ever?), they have a chance to take what has been dealt to them and turn it in their favour, heading home with 4/6 points in the bag, which would be a solid haul.
Also, another key thing is will be how they handle the injuries, as this road trip will have left their bench thin, leaving Dos Santos another thing to manage, so it’ll be interesting to monitor his usage if the Caps are to fall behind or pick up a lead going into the second half.
New York Red Bulls:
Manager: Chris Armas
Perennial contenders in MLS, the Red Bulls have been the masters of balancing international talent with young homegrown talent, constantly shuttling out top prospects like Tyler Adams while maintaining a good nucleus of young and veteran talent that has allowed them to succeed in this league. With this, they seemingly contend every season, so it is no surprise to see their recent surge up the Eastern Conference standings heading into the middle stretch of the season. They will be a formidable challenge, as they have the ever-dangerous Kaku, the tricky Royer and a solid backline (usually) marshalled by Aaron Long and former Cap Tim Parker, with a great keeper in Luis Robles to keep things tidy. They love to play with the ball, playing a possession-based style, so it will be interesting to see how the Caps attack things knowing what they do and based on their injury list.
It looks to be a beautiful evening in New York, so expect a good match from these two opponents. With both teams missing key players but hungry for points, it should be a scrappy affair but one worth tuning in for, so make sure you check in at 17:00 PST and get in on the fun!
17:00 PST, Red Bull Arena