It’s a meeting between top teams from different conferences tonight in Vancouver, the Whitecaps lead the Western Conference at 5-2 while the Black-and-Red are in a three way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference. United hasn’t beat the Whitecaps since 2011, winning 4-0. In the past four meetings, Vancouver has won twice and the other two matches ended in draws.
The Whitecaps have two very dangerous strikers in Darren Mattocks and Octavio Rivero, Mattocks scored the game winner last match against Real Salt Lake. It was his second goal of the season, but he’s been directly involved with the last three goals his team has scored. Mattocks isn’t the only one up top that is in good form as Rivero has put five balls in the back of the net this season. Giving Vancouver one of the most dangerous attacks in their conference as well as the league. No matter their decision tactically, 4-3-1-2 or 4-2-3-1, United will have to deal with these two goal scorers.
The Black-and-Red have been trying to get healthy through the first six games of the the season and they are finally close to that point. The starting 11 will surely change in the coming weeks as good health brings options to head coach Ben Olsen. Luis Silva has come off the bench to play in the last three games, he could be ready for the full 90 minutes or at least to start and play 60 to 70 minutes. DC has definitely showed their tremendous depth to this point, Michael Farfan has played well when asked to start as has Kofi Opare in his filling in for Steven Birnbaum. Last week, Andy Dkystra had to step in for the injured Bill Hamid.
The tactical matchup will certainly be a focal point this game as Houston changed tactics in the second half to better matchup with United’s 4-4-2. Which team will dictate the terms today, will it be the Vancouver or DC?
This is also the first game of the season in which Fabian Espindola is eligible to play in as he was suspended for the first six games for United. It remains to be seen as how much he’ll play, but it wouldn’t be wrong to assume he’ll follow in the footsteps of Silva over the past three games. Possibly come in the game at the 75th minute or so, no matter when he comes in, it will be a boost to DC as they need help in the final third. Espindola was one of the scoring leaders last seasson.
The Black-and-Red isn’t the only team that could be getting a talented player back today, Vancouver could see the debut of Cristian Techera who joined the team last week. He’s another skilled player that could affect the game for his side should he get minutes tonight.
Keys to a DC win
- Dictate the terms tactically, force Vancouver to play on your terms
- No matter the changes in the lineup, if any. Continue to attack for 90 minutes
- No more looking for the ‘perfect’ opportunity, must take shots when in the final third
- Killer Instinct. United drew the last two games after going up by at least a goal
- Combine, combine, combine. DC’s attack flows well as the ball continues to move
- Same intensity for the full 90