Vancouver Whitecaps vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs D.C. UNITED
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
Sept. 6, 2014 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #249)
7 p.m. PT (TSN in Canada / CSN Mid-Atlantic)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will face a major test as they bid to put a recent tough skid behind them when they take Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United on Saturday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC have been shut out in three consecutive games, losing for a second consecutive match in a 3-0 home loss to Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers last weekend. United won their third game in the last four matches last weekend, returning home for a 2-0 win against the New York Red Bulls to consolidate their lead atop the conference.
REFEREE: Drew Fischer: AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 40 games; FC/gm: 23.2; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 15; pens: 10
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Mauro Rosales … DC: Davy Arnaud, Fabian Espindola
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Jordan Harvey, Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez, Andy O’Brien, Pedro Morales … DC: Lewis Neal, Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen
DISABLED LIST: VAN: Caleb Clarke (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: VAN: Johnny Leveron (Honduras, Copa Centroamericana)
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 3 goals … United 1 win, 5 goals … Ties 1
AT VANCOUVER (2 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 2 goals … United 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS)
6/29: DC 0, VAN 1 (Sanvezzo 48)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- When Whitecaps FC won 1-0 at RFK Stadium in the only meeting between the teams a year ago, it was the first road victory in four meetings all-time in the series.
- Whitecaps FC have won two of the last three meetings, with one draw, following a United 4-0 win in the first encounter ever in 2011.
- Coaches record: Ben Olsen v VAN: P4 W1 L2 T1 … Carl Robinson vs. DC: first game
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their shutout streak continue with a second consecutive loss, falling 3-0 to the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with 33 points from 25 games.
- The Timbers took the lead six minutes into the second half. Diego Valeri collected the ball on the right flank and fullback Alvas Powell was allowed to run in to the near post unmarked and head home the opener.
- The lead was doubled with a quarter-hour to play. Just seconds after coming on as a substitute, Michael Harrington pulled a ball back for fellow substitute Maximiliano Urruti at the edge of the box, and had time to turn before crashing a fantastic finish in off the underside of the bar.
- The scoreline was complete four minutes later when Darlington Nagbe combined to slip in Rodney Wallace in the left side of the area for a cool, low finish past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to the team that fell 2-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Kendall Waston came into the back four for the suspended Johnny Leveron, Mauro Rosales and Matias Laba started in midfield in place of Sebastian Fernandez and Mehdi Ballouchy, and Erik Hurtado came in up top for Darren Mattocks.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-1-2): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Andy O'Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey (Sam Adekugbe 80) - Mauro Rosales, Matias Laba, Russell Teibert - Pedro Morales - Erik Hurtado (Sebastian Fernandez 76), Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks 60).
- Whitecaps FC were held without a goal for a third consecutive match, and have now gone 321 minutes since their last goal, the sixth-longest drought in MLS this season. They have been shut out in four of their last five games, after suffering four shutouts in their first 20 league matches.
- The 321 minutes without a goal is the second-longest streak in the club’s MLS history; they went 332 minutes without scoring in their inaugural season of 2011.
- “I think it’s something we’ve got to look at because [the Timbers] have conceded a lot of goals, but they didn’t seem in any danger. Even if we would have hit our levels of attack in play, I still don’t think we would have scored three goals,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “It’s something we have to look at individually and collectively and as a staff as well and find a solution. I don’t think we were a threat throughout the game, and that was probably our biggest concern for me.”
- Whitecaps FC have also suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season since losing to Colorado and the LA Galaxy on April 5-12.
- “We’ve shown that we can do it, we haven’t done it recently, and we’ve got to find a way to do that. Whether it’s a slight adjustment in the formation or its changing personnel but we know we can do it, we just haven’t been doing it,” said Robinson. “So we take responsibility for that. I take responsibility for that and we go again. There are teams that lose five, six, seven games on the trot but they still get into the playoffs along the line.”
- The three goals allowed by Whitecaps FC matched their season-high, conceded three times earlier, last in a 3-1 home loss to Chivas USA on July 12.
- “I haven’t seen it, I just saw the ball hit the back of the net three times and them celebrating. So I’ll analyze it, I don’t think it’s good when you concede three goals,” said Robinson. “You don’t win many games when you do that. So we’ll look at it individually and collectively but any time you concede three goals at home it’s not good.”
- After coming on as a halftime substitute the week before in his Whitecaps FC debut, Mauro Rosales started in the midfield and played the full 90 minutes. It was his first full league match since Aug. 9, when he was with Chivas USA.
- Kendall Waston made his first MLS start, coming into central defense in place of the suspended Johnny Leveron and playing the full 90 minutes. He had come off the substitutes’ bench for the final 11 minutes in his MLS debut the week prior.
- Erik Hurtado returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 10, after coming off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last two matches.
- “I’ve got two center forwards. I’ve got Darren and I’ve got Erik,” Robinson said. “I think Erik did well today without being the threat that I want him to be in that role. Natural goalscorers are very few and far between if you look throughout the league. We’ve got players that can score goals. They are the players that we’ve got, and we are moving on with them and I’m confident that they can give us the goals that we need.”
D.C. United returned home and returned to their winning ways, defeating the New York Red Bulls 2-0 on Sunday afternoon at RFK Stadium. United are still in first place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points from 25 games.
- United finally broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute. A long goal kick from Bill Hamid was nodded on by Fabian Espindola into the path of Luis Silva. He raced into the Red Bulls area, took a touch around goalkeeper Luis Robles and easily slotted it home.
- The game was put away in stoppage time when substitute Eddie Johnson raced onto a long ball from midfielder Perry Kitchen and deftly chipped his shot past Robles, who got a hand to the ball but couldn't stop it from continuing over the line.
- Hamid made five saves for the clean sheet in the United goal, several of world-class caliber.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made four changes to the team that fell 4-1 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Nick DeLeon, Davy Arnaud and Chris Rolfe all came back into the midfield for David Estrada, Lewis Neal and Alex Caskey, and Fabian Espindola started up top again in place of Eddie Johnson.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp - Nick DeLeon (Alex Caskey 87), Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Chris Rolfe - Fabian Espindola (Jared Jeffrey 85), Luis Silva (Eddie Johnson 66).
- United extended their home winning streak to four games with the New York victory, and have won three of their last four league games overall following a two-match losing run with defeats at Houston and Real Salt Lake.
- “I absolutely would’ve signed up for that,” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “It’s been a grind. We have two days off now. The guys are looking forward to not looking at each other and not looking at me. It’s a time now to recharge, enjoy ourselves, but also start preparing ourselves for a very difficult trip out to Vancouver. This time, though, we’ll have legs for Vancouver.”
- It was also a third consecutive home shutout for United, who have not conceded a goal at RFK Stadium in 276 league minutes, since July 20.
- “Now we have to start thinking about these games as potential playoff games, making sure our mentality is one that we’re moving forward and striving to get better over the next month or two,” Olsen said. “If we do get into the playoffs, that we’re ready for this physically and mentally. It’s a good stretch for us, and it’s going to test us. We have to turn around and play New York in 10 days. That’s not going to be an easy one.”
- “The way we are playing is working, there’s chemistry. We want to continue picking up points, climbing the ladder and keeping this going as smoothly as possible,” said goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
- Luis Silva scored his eighth goal of the season to send United on their way against New York. All eight of Silva’s goals have come since June 11, over a 12-game span.
- Fabian Espíndola collected his ninth assist of the season, his first since June 11, his last game before a six-match injury-enforced layoff. Espíndola has two goals and an assist since returning to action.
- “I think each game is going to be different with us. We are going to have times where we are going to be a team that can out-possess a team and unbalance teams in that way,” Olsen said. “But we also have the ability to transform into a little bit more of a direct team. Some of that is organic and some of that just happens throughout the game, and we don’t try to say ‘OK, let’s be out-possessed and counter attack and go big.’ But today I thought our balance was pretty good. I think our ability to adapt in and out of that is what has helped us so far.”
- Eddie Johnson came off the substitutes’ bench for the first time this season in league play and scored his fifth goal of the season, his first since July 30, when he scored in a third consecutive game.
- “I felt good,” Johnson said. “With my experience, I just wanted to pay attention to the game. I thought Silva did a fantastic job today and had a fantastic goal and I wanted to keep that level and energy going. I think we’ve been doing fantasic. The team got some great results during my suspension, and when you come back, you don’t want to drop that level. It was good to be back.”
- Added Olsen: “This isn’t just a '[should we] put EJ on the bench thing. This is a three-week process of guys managing minutes. A lot more goes into it than ‘OK, we’re gonna bench EJ.’ From a minutes standpoint, Fabi[an Espindola] and Luis were a little lighter in that department and their rhythm together had been very good together lately. I thought those two continued to show very good chemistry.”
- United were dealt a severe blow when midfielder Chris Rolfe was lost for up to six weeks following surgery to repair a fractured radial head and ulna in Rolfe's left forearm. Rolfe was injured in training on Wednesday.