Overall Record vs. Chivas USA
The push for playoff contention enters a new degree of urgency this Sunday as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-9L-6D) play host to the lacklustre Chivas USA (5W-14L-6D). It’s the third and final meeting of the season between the Whitecaps and Chivas (that’s ‘Goats’ in English), and while many are tempted to chalk up a win in the Whitecaps column before the first kick, others are taking a more cautious (yet hopeful) view of things. Certainly, the underwhelming performance by Chivas this season does offer an understandable boost of confidence to any outside observer. Currently, Chivas USA sits dead last in the Western Conference and are second-worst in the entire league, ahead only of D.C. United (3W-17L-5D).
However, much as Vancouver fans would rather forget, the team is coming off a two-game losing streak while facing an increasingly uncertain situation in the midfield. (Incidentally, one of Chivas’ rare wins came 2-1 against the Whitecaps back in March). The Whitecaps desperately need a win in order to regain their chance at a spot in the playoffs, a goal that is certainly within reach but it will require the team to play as though the entire season rests on this one game.
It is worth nothing however, that a win on Sunday may not necessarily put the Whitecaps back in the race right away, as Western Conference rivals Seattle, Colorado, San Jose and Los Angeles will be in action on Saturday. Depending on how well (or poorly) the teams do, Vancouver could find itself as far up as forth in the standings or even lower if the team loses or manages a draw on Sunday. Currently, it is too close to call with any degree of certainty. Fans everywhere will have to watch and wait to see where the chips may fall.
Reports out of Whitecaps practices suggest a “cautious optimism” about Camilo’s return to action on Sunday. The Brazilian striker has participated in light training since suffering muscle tightness in his groin August 17th against Colorado. Though the injury is not being classified as ‘major’, concern remains over Camilo’s effectiveness in the striker role, as well as potential risk for serious injury which could see him benched for the rest of the season if he is pushed too far too soon. All that aside, coach Martin Rennie remains hopeful that Camilo will see some form of action on Sunday. If not given the start, it could leave the door open for a second straight start for Darren Mattocks.
Midfield continues to be a trying situation, made worse by the absence of Nigel Reo-Coker who sits out Sunday’s game with a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation. It’s likely that Gershon Koffie will be kept at center midfield. A number of names are available to replace Reo-Coker on the right (Jun Marques Davidson, Daigo Kobayashi and Matt Watson) but one surprising name in particular is standing out, as far as the coach is concerned: Russell Teibert.
Putting Teibert in the middle would be a surprising switch-up, considering the designated Home-Grown Player from Niagara Falls has been performing relatively well alongside Kenny Miller and Camilo, although it would not be Teibert’s first time in the midfield, having started off the 2013 season in that role before finding his place in the attacking line.
In goal, there has been nothing to suggest that David Ousted will not get the start. Unsurprising considering the effort and talent Ousted has demonstrated since earning the number one spot from Brad Knighton earlier this month.
Kickoff is set for just after 4:00PM PST. You can view the game on Sportsnet Pacific and Sportsnet ONE, or tune into TEAM 1410 radio to catch all the pre-and-post game highlights.