So what is up with the Whitecaps? They have a record of 3 Wins, 1 Draw, and 4 Losses. In some ways that feels better than how they have been playing recently. But then again, this is basically the same team that missed the playoffs last year, albeit with some slight improvements in key positions.
Many could make the argument that they were focusing on the CONCACAF Champions League at the start of the year, and you would be right. That was the priority. There has been lots of rotation in the squad and lots of new faces getting minutes during MLS League play. Robbo has also been tinkering in an attempt to find something that works with the players that he has, and getting a road win in Montreal is perhaps telling that he is onto something with the 4-1-4-1.
Colorado on the other hand seem to be in free fall. With only one win in seven games, it’s fair to say they have not started the season well. Most of that has to do with the back line and Timmy Howard. Pablo Mastroeni’s team was never one for scoring goals so when those key pieces are injured it’s not that surprising that the team is in freefall.
Formation, Line-Up, and Tactics
I think the ‘Caps should be getting out and trying to win this game. Colorado’s terrible record and shaky defence mean this is a road game we can win. Coming back from this long road trip with at least six points in the bag would be a big lift for the Whitecaps hopes for making the postseason.
With that said, I think we will see a repeat of the 4-1-4-1 line-up that had success in Montreal. It was nice to see possession (for once), and seeing how Colorado like to counter, we will need to be able to do something with the possession they can give us. Don’t mess with something that works.
David Ousted has been solid recently, and we should look for that form to continue. The backline has done well with Kendall Waston being a much calmer presence this year, with the exception of the kick out in Montreal, but otherwise he seems to be stepping up with the captain’s armband, and he isn’t afraid to slap his teammates back down to earth after scoring a goal. Tim Parker has been better because Waston is better, but also because he is getting better in his individual decisions. Jordan Harvey is perhaps losing a step, but he still has a place on that backline. Sheanon Williams has been looking to lock down his starting spot and he has been quietly doing his business on his flank.
I really like the fact that Matias Laba is sitting in front of the back four and breaking up attacks. Every game it seems his passing and vision is getting better, if this continues perhaps we won’t see him paired with anyone anymore. Just let him be the defensive anchor that he was born to be.
Tony Tchani and Andrew Jacobson were great at helping disrupt any attacks and have been good getting forward. While Jacobson has been fantastic in these last two games, and is such a great and versatile player, he needs to get forward and score more, and that goal against Montreal was a beauty.
In front I think we should continue to see Christian Bolaños and Cristian Techera along the wings. In Montreal they were both looking good in those spots, and Alphonso Davies when he came on as a sub. Kudos to Bolaños for his great set piece delivery recently as well.
Up front hopefully Fredy Montero can keep up his goal scoring pace, because with any one striker formation we are going to need it.
Even with Tim Howard back, will the Whitecaps be able to take advantage of Colorado’s lack of organization?
Will the defensive solidity continue?
Will Jacobson score a worldie every week?
AFTN’s Man to Watch
Tim Howard – if there’s one person who could stop the ‘Caps it is him. His experience is broad and he will certainly have a point to prove coming back after his suspension and will want to play like a man possessed. Can he with that defence in front of him?
Nick: 0-1 for the Whitecaps, Techera bags another!
Joe: 2-1 Vancouver