This is a shorter preview than normal, owing to the week-long gap between matches and the lack of significant news, the Cascadia Cup win notwithstanding. I could talk at length about the Cup, but that’s an entire article-worthy topic in and of itself, which I may or may not write about at a later time. If I am honest, there is not a whole lot of different stuff to talk about for this preview. The same do-or-die urgency from last week’s match against Seattle carries through to Saturday’s game against the Rapids.
Some hopeful news out of Tuesday’s training camp. Injured defender Brad Rusin (sprained ankle) participated in full training with the main squad along with Omar Salgado (broken foot). Conversely, Kenny Miller’s injured adductor muscle continues to limit the Scottish striker’s recovery. Miller did some light training, working mostly with team physiotherapist. No word on whether any of the three men will be ready to make a return to action on Saturday.
What’s the Point?
With only two games to go before the season wraps up, Vancouver (12W-11L-9D) has forty-five points and remains three points behind fifth-place Colorado (13W-10L-9D). A loss will mathematically eliminate the Whitecaps from the playoffs, as Colorado would grow to fifty-one points, creating a three-way tie with Los Angeles and Seattle, rendering any potential win at home on October 27th moot. A draw is no more desirable, as the Whitecaps will still be left three points back of fifth place, while leaving the door open for San Jose (12W-11L-8D, forty-seven points) to kick both teams to the curb with a win of their own against the Galaxy on Sunday. The only acceptable outcome is a win, simple as that.
Now before we get discouraged and start trading in our Whitecaps jerseys for Canucks ones until the 2014 season, let me reassure you there is precedence here warranting cautious optimism for Saturday’s game (if you’ll forgive that slight poke at bandwagon-jumpers. I know the faithful, like me, will watch and wear their jerseys regardless of the outcome).
Leave us not forget the result of the last scrimmage at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (2-0 Colorado), the Whitecaps have won their previous two road games by wide margins, and changing the lineup formation from an inconsistent 4-3-3 to the 4-4-2 “diamond” shape seems to have given the team a badly needed push, not to mention an impressive boost in play from Daigo Kobayashi. (See jm3ndoza’s thoughts on that here).
Ultimately however, the crystal ball is clouded as to just how well the Whitecaps will perform on Saturday. One can only watch, hope, and never ever stop chanting until the final whistle!
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM Pacific Time. The game will be streamed on MLS LIVE. Fans can also watch the game on SportsNet ONE and as always, TEAM 1410 radio will carry the game, along with pre and post game coverage.
Share your thoughts on this weekend’s match against Colorado on Twitter @WhitecapsXI and in the comments section below!