Radio Cascadia Episode 140: A busy week in Portland and is Kei Kamara ready to lead the Whitecaps?

MLSGB has joined up with the Radio Cascadia podcast for the 2018 season, giving our readers the chance to catch up on all the latest news from the Pacific Northwest, where MLS clubs Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps look to continue to dominate the Western Conference. 

Radio Cascadia is a weekly podcast and is an authoritative steward of the Cascadian perspective, representing the most passionate, unified and unique fan bases in the country. Their passion is well justified, not only by the clubs’ nearly fifty years of shared history but also thanks to rampant success in the MLS era. Since 2011 (the first year all three clubs had made the switch over to the top flight from the USL), Cascadian MLS sides have won a combined total of five major trophies. Additional honours in that time frame include two CONCACAF Champions League semifinal appearances, three consecutive MLS Cup berths, and six consecutive Western Conference Championship appearances.

The latter two statistics above are active streaks, and clubs in Cascadia have just over a month of preseason left to prepare for their chance to continue these streaks on the stage of the 2018 MLS campaign.

In this week’s episode, host Jackson Felts of Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR is joined by Sounders 2 announcer Andrew Harvey, MLSsoccer.com’s Ari Liljenwall and Radio Cascadia founder Steven Agen as they dissect the busiest week of 2018 so far. Five new players have joined Cascadian rosters since the last release, and there’s even a first preseason match to review!

Michael McColl of AFTN.ca calls in to give his take on the leadership situation in the Whitecaps’ locker room, and the extent to which Kei Kamara can fill the void. We spotlight Vancouver’s other new striker as well; Venezuelan Anthony Blondell as he looks poised for a breakout season. A group analysis of Whitecaps boss Carl Robinson’s ambitions for the season closes out the segment.

Matt Hoffman of Stumptown Footy reveals his favourite Timbers kit design as they released their new away strip for 2018 this week. The group pays due respect to the sweet gold accents on the new shirt, but most of the segment is devoted to analysis of the four new signings by the club in the span of only a few days.

Sounders have finally made a splash with their brand new chunk of discretionary Targeted Allocation Money, bringing in versatile Norwegian midfielder Magnus Eikrom on a free transfer. The news broke just in time for the group to develop opinions on where he’ll fit in Seattle’s attacking scheme in 2018. Elsewhere in the segment, Andrew Harvey gives his scouting report on new Homegrown Player Handwalla Bwana, who recorded a goal and an assist in Sounders’ preseason victory over Club Tijuana’s U-20 side on Sunday.

Find the latest RC show every Tuesday at radiocascadia.libsyn.com and follow the guys on Twitter @Radio_Cascadia.

Episode 140 Playlist:

00:00 – Introduction: Miami MLS expansion, Crew update

07:45 – Vancouver Whitecaps: Robbo’s ambition, Kei Kamara’s leadership, Anthony Blondell’s journey

27:45 – Portland Timbers: Four new faces, away kit revealed, 2018 Captain picks

47:05 – Seattle Sounders: First look at new TAM midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Bwana stars in 3-1 preseason win

Advertisements

Vancouver Whitecaps can build upon their hugely successful campaign

The Vancouver Whitecaps enjoyed a hugely successful year in MLS but Carl Robinson’s side unfortunately ran out of steam during the playoffs at the end of the season. It may seem baffling to label their failure to make the Conference Finals as a ‘success’ but the Caps were written off by many ahead of the campaign and their significant progress can be seen as an overachievement, which gives them plenty to build upon ahead of 2018.

The Caps were pipped to the Western Conference title by the Portland Timbers, leaving the Canadian outfit to negotiate their way through the knockout round of the MLS Playoffs. After a long season, this was far from ideal for Robinson’s side and fatigue began to set in. Fredy Montero missed the game against the Timbers on the final day of the regular season and his absence was evident throughout, as a lack of potency in the final third hindered the Caps.

Injuries also prevented them from making a fast start with key midfielder Yordy Reyna missing the first few games of the campaign. However, their consistency soon shone through and they ended the season having been defeated in back-to-back matches on just one occasion.

Vancouver Whitecaps cruised through the knockout stage but were undone by MLS Cup finalists and near-neighbours Seattle Sounders. They also progressed to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. Despite an underwhelming couple of performances when it mattered, there were plenty of reasons to be positive and the men from BC Place can now look ahead to the 2018 campaign with optimism.

There is a lack of star quality in the Caps’ starting lineup but Robinson has stressed the importance of hard work, and the players also clearly enjoy one another’s company away from the pitch. There is a team spirit within the camp that appears hard to break and, with a few savvy additions during the off-season, they should exceed expectations once again in 2018.

Robinson’s side must continue their upward momentum and anyone who is thinking of backing them to bounce back and finish top of the Western Conference next season can use one of the many free bets detailed by Oddschecker, including a free £30 from William Hill, who price up over 150 different markets on each MLS game throughout the campaign.

Robinson has told reporters that he expects plenty of changes at the club throughout the off-season, suggesting the team “need to evolve”. David Ousted has already departed the club with the hierarchy deciding not to take up the option to re-sign the 32-year-old goalkeeper. However, Russell Teibert has agreed a new three-year deal to stay on the west coast of Canada until 2020, with the 24-year-old now the Caps’ longest-serving player.

The team will travel to Nevada, California, and Hawaii during the off-season as they prepare for another potentially energy-sapping campaign. Robinson wants to make pre-season as competitive as possible, which should help avoid another sluggish start in March. The Whitecaps are not amongst the favourites for the 2018 MLS Cup but they are a team who relish the chance to over-perform and exceed all expectations. They will once again go into the new campaign amongst the outsiders but there is plenty to build upon and it’ll be tough to write them off.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, May 28 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver 6/5 – Draw 12/5 – Houston 11/5

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps welcome Houston Dynamo to BC Place on Saturday evening in a tie which looks like it could be very much one-way traffic.

Vancouver come into this one off the back of their 4-2 loss away at Portland, a result that ended a three-game winning streak.

The Whitecaps sit 4th in the Western Conference, trailing top spot by seven points. They will see this as a game there for the taking against a Houston side who have struggled this season.

Carl Robinson will have his players well prepared for this one and they have shown excellent form at BC Place, going unbeaten in their last six.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

Houston Dynamo come into this tie after parting company with head coach Owen Coyle during the week. Recent form has been disappointing and last weekend’s result was the Scotsman’s final game in charge. Their 1-0 loss away at Chicago closed the gap between the bottom two sides in the Supporters’ Shield standings to just one point.

The away side have lost seven of their last ten outings. A possible recovery looked underway until last weekend and they have now won just two in their last five.

Dynamo are bottom of the Western Conference, trailing the top six by eight points. This is starting to look like it could be a long season for the Houston fans, who will be willing their side to find form and regain confidence.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Bruin

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps could be without up to four as Christian Dean, Deybi Flores and Masato Kudo are all expected to miss out. Fraser Aird is a doubt. Both Octavio Rivero and Blas Perez are one caution away from suspension and will need to watch their step.

Houston Dynamo have two injury concerns, as both Raul Rodriguez and DaMarcus Beasley are doubts.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/W/W/W/L

Houston Dynamo’s form: L/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: Homesick – Houston have lost their last ten away MLS outings.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver midfielder has had a great influence on their season so far, he is their top scorer with six goals and will look to fire the home side to victory again here.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 Houston Dynamo – This should be a routine three points for Vancouver, but they cannot afford to have any lapses in concentration otherwise they risk allowing Houston into the game. Houston just need to get a lucky break, last weekend was a good chance of them getting back-to-back wins, which would have put them in a far better position heading into this one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer Fixture: Vancouver Whitecaps Vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, March 26 – 23:00 ET (03:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Houston Dynamo 15/4

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps welcome Houston Dynamo to BC Place on Saturday night looking to get their second win of the season against their Western Conference rivals. The Dynamo will be looking to get a third victory in four matches after a fine start to the campaign.

The Whitecaps sit in unfamiliar territory in ninth place after three weeks. They will rue missed chances from their opening games, particularly in the loss to Montreal on opening weekend, and need to pick back up now.

Of the three fixtures played, Seattle Sounders would of looked, on paper at least, as the toughest   opening game but they overcame Sigi Schmid’s men by a 2-1 scoreline last week.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

Pedro Morales netted two penalties in that victory, taking his tally to three for the season – with all goals coming from the spot.

Vancouver now have back-to-back home games and they must make them count as they try to climb the table or questions will start to be asked of their credentials.

Houston Dynamo are the league’s top scorers with eleven goals so far – the most of any MLS team after three games in history. Will Bruin is a man in form at the moment with three goals to his name and is the league’s joint top scorer.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Bruin

They will consider themselves unfortunate that they lost against the New York Red Bulls 4-3 last Saturday, having been 3-1 up, but they must now show their resilience by bouncing back here.

Owen Coyle will be satisfied with the start the Dynamo have made to their campaign and they could still have many more surprises up their sleeve as the season unfolds.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have a few players on international duty with Marco Carducci, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, Blas Perez, Christian Bolanos and Marco Bustos all away with their national teams. A calf strain keeps Russell Teibert out of the clash.

Houston Dynamo will likely be without captain Giles Barnes, who is struggling with a hamstring injury. Cristian Maidana has a concussion ruling him out, while Tyler Deric is also out with an abdominal injury. Oscar Boniek Garcia is away on international duty as is Erick Torres.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L/W

Houston Dynamo’s form: W/W/L

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have never won at BC place.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver captain has three goals already this season. He is a leader on the pitch and is so vital to this Whitecaps side that need to start putting wins on the board. The Chilean has plenty about his game and will want to keep up the impressive form for the Whitecaps against their Western Conference rivals.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction 

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Houston Dynamo – Both teams are more than capable of scoring goals, there is no doubt about it. A draw would likely be a fair result because of the international break, causing disruptions for the hosts as they have several internationals in their side. It would be seen as a good point if Dynamo get anything from it and they will expect to in what could be a tight affair.

2016 MLS Season Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps

As the 2016 MLS season edges closer, we’ll be publishing each team’s MLS 2016 Season Preview. Today we take a look at what Vancouver Whitecaps will be hoping to achieve this season.

The 2015 season was the Vancouver Whitecaps’ best to date. Supporters will be thrilled with their team’s performance as they finished second in the Western Conference after racking up their highest points total in what was their fifth season in MLS. The playoff exit to eventual winners, and Cascadia rivals, Portland Timbers will have hurt but they will be pleased with how last year went and now face the tough task in trying to repeat their achievements over the course of 2016. That will be difficult in an ever-competitive Western Conference, and with teams around them strengthening, Vancouver need to improve again if they are to challenge as high up as they did last term. Carl Robinson is a great coach and has built a young, hungry squad in Vancouver. There have been some key changes to the squad this offseason and so trying to hit the ground running will be vital.

Last season’s finish:

Western Conference – Position: 2nd – P34 – W16 – D5 – L13

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps Pa-Modou Kah

What needs to change this year?

The Whitecaps don’t need to change much to be successful in 2016. But the biggest challenge will be replicating their performances from last season. The Whitecaps conceded the fewest goals in MLS (36) in 2015 and will need to try and remain tight at the back once again. They also picked up the most points away from home (24), although their form at BC Place could have been better. They will hope to take more from home games this year, while starting well will be important. Vancouver ended the 2015 regular season with just one win from their last six and so they will hope that was just a temporary dip in form, rather than anything more long-term.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Masato Kudo – Forward, Christian Bolanos – Midfielder, Fraser Aird – Defender, Cole Seiler – Defender & Blas Perez – Forward

Outs: Steven Beitashour – Defender, Robert Earnshaw – Forward, Gershon Koffie – Midfielder & Mauro Rosales – Midfielder

Key Player:

Photo: MLSSoccer.com

Photo: MLSSoccer.com

Kendall Waston – Defender – Perhaps a surprise choice as the Whitecaps’ key player, but Kendall Waston was consistently good in 2015 and was one of the key reasons they had the best defensive record in Major League Soccer. The Costa Rican defender scored two goals, proving his effectiveness at either end, and led the team in interceptions with an average of 4.2 per game. He is a great reader of the game and is vitally important to Vancouver. 

One to Watch:

Christian Bolaños – Midfielder – Vancouver’s biggest offseason acquisition was that of Costa Rican playmaker Christian Bolaños. The 31-year-old joins the Canadian club in a transfer from Saprissa and will hope to make an immediate impact in MLS. He will bring experience to a young squad and is capable of scoring goals from almost anywhere. He will be an exciting player to watch, so long as he can find his feet quickly.

Predicted Finish:

Western Conference – 5th – The 2016 season should be another promising one for the Vancouver Whitecaps, but finishing as high as second seems tough to envisage heading into the new season. The squad has changed over the offseason, with the losses of Steven Beitashour and Gershon Koffie likely to have an effect. They ended 2015 in poor form and will need to try and start quickly. They can be expected to make the playoffs again, but might have to settle for a lower finish than second.

What are you expecting from Vancouver Whitecaps in 2016?

MLS Playoff Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: MLS Playoffs (Western Conference Semifinal First Leg) – Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Providence Park – Sunday, November 1 – 17:00 ET (22:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Portland 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver 11/4

Match Preview

Portland Timbers host the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Cascadia rivals’ first ever MLS Playoff clash on Sunday night in their Western Conference semifinal first leg.

Portland had to go the distance on Thursday night as they beat Sporting Kansas City in the knockout round in a game that went all the way to penalties, with all 22 players taking a spot-kick before Portland made it through, thanks to goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey’s heroics.

The Timbers will now host the first leg of Sunday’s Western Conference semifinal with rivals Vancouver but have to hope fatigue doesn’t put the tie out of their reach before the second leg next week.

Embed from Getty Images

Caleb Porter knows his side have a genuine chance of lifting a first MLS Cup this season but needs to keep his players grounded. Winning the home leg is vital in playoff football and that will be the priority on Sunday night.

Vancouver were able to enjoy a bye week and were therefore able to enjoy watching the knockout round. But all focus will now be on their playoff opener and a trip to Portland presents a stern test for a side that has not yet won in two previous MLS Playoff games.

The Whitecaps sealed second spot in the Western Conference with a 3-0 home win against Houston last Sunday and come into this match as 2015’s best away side in MLS. Although Sunday’s win was their first in six.

Embed from Getty Images

They know an away goal could be so valuable and should therefore look to attack Portland on Sunday. That could lead to an open, entertaining game – something we’ve seen in all four 2015 playoff games to this point.

Portland failed to beat the Whitecaps in three attempts during the regular season. Vancouver won 2-1 at BC Place in March before 0-0 and 1-1 draws followed at Providence Park in May and July respectively. The Timbers have only lost once at home to Vancouver in the past six years.

Team News

Portland are likely to be without Will Johnson and Ben Zemanski once again here. Maximiliano Urruti was the late hero in extra-time on Thursday but will likely start on the bench again, with Fanendo Adi set to lead the line.

Vancouver Whitecaps have a number of injury worries ahead of their playoff opener. Ben McKendry and Caleb Clarke are definitely out. Cristian Techera and more worryingly, Pedro Morales are both doubts but should be cleared to play. Pa Modou Kah is available to face his former club after completing his one-game suspension on Sunday.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five: L/W/W/W/W

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: D/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Vancouver have conceded the fewest MLS goals of any side in 2015, with just 36 allowed and boast the best away record in the league.

Key Player: Adam Larsen Kwarasey – Portland’s playoff hero from Thursday night will need to put in another solid performance to give Portland a chance here against a Vancouver side that has fired an average of more than five shots per game – the third highest in MLS.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – This is a huge game for Portland. Their playoff hopes likely hang on the result of this as they need to take a victory to Vancouver next week to have a real chance of progressing. The Whitecaps have only scored five goals in their last six outings but should find the net as Portland have struggled to keep clean sheets of late. Though the home side could just edge it by the odd goal to set up a thrilling second leg.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, August 1 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle Sounders 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 19/10

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders entertain Western Conference rivals Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night with four points separating the sides ahead of the latest Cascadia Cup clash.

The Sounders have been out of form recently with just one win in their last seven games but despite their baron run they are still sitting fifth in the Western Conference and are on track to make the playoffs – the minimum expectation for last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners.

Sigi Schmid will know his side need to put an end to their three-game losing run and this would be a great game to do it in against their fierce rivals.

They come into the game off the back of their third 1-0 loss in a row, after the defeat by Montreal Impact last time out. Worryingly, the Sounders have failed to score in five of their last seven regular season games but the return of Clint Dempsey should see things improve dramatically.

Embed from Getty Images

By contrast Vancouver Whitecaps have ensured their recent form has been steady. Despite losing two of their last five regular season ties, they have still picked up seven points in those games.

Carl Robinson will be disappointed not to be leading the Western Conference given how tight the table is, but knows his side are in a great position to take all three points in this one and keep their Western Conference winning hopes alive.

Vancouver come into the game off the back of their 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes last Sunday and they will be looking to build on their solid away form this season which has seen them win six of their 12 road trips.

Embed from Getty Images

The Sounders currently lead the 2015 Cascadia Cup series, with Portland and Vancouver both tied on five points – one fewer than Seattle. The Sounders beat Vancouver 2-0 in May and will look to get revenge for last season’s 1-0 home loss to their rivals.

Team News

Seattle Sounders are set to be without Obafemi Martins and Andres Correa. Andy Craven and Stefan Frei are both doubts. Clint Dempsey will return to the side after playing in the Gold Cup and MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

Vancouver Whitecaps have two injury concerns. Sam Adekugbe and Pedro Morales are doubtful, while Pa Modou Kah is one booking away from a suspension.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five in MLS: L/W/L/L/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five in MLS: W/L/L/D/W

Key Stat: Seattle Sounders have lost six of their last seven in Major League Soccer and have failed to score in five of those games.

Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Whitecaps forward got back to scoring ways in the 3-1 victory over San Jose and has now netted eight this season. He could be in for a treat against a Sounders side who keep letting in goals.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – Vancouver to pile more misery on a struggling Sounders side in what should be another entertaining Cascadia Cup clash at CenturyLink Field.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competitions: Major League Soccer – Portland Timbers vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, July 18 – 22:30 ET (Sunday, July 19 – 03:30 BST)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 12/5

Match Preview

Portland Timbers take on Western Conference opponents Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend with the sides separated by just one point.

Caleb Porter‘s side come into this one off the back of their 3-0 defeat to Philadelphia Union, which is a frustrating result for all involved at Portland as they could have gone top of the Western Conference with a win.

The Timbers have been a little inconsistent of late, with two losses in their last five games. The Western Conference is extremely tight and they cannot afford to lose pace in the top six, who are separated by just two points.

Timbers face another difficult tie after this one, away at FC Dallas, so need to make sure they get a positive result this weekend.

Embed from Getty Images

Vancouver Whitecaps are sitting second on goal-difference and know this is not going to be an easy tie.

Carl Robinson‘s side have surprisingly lost their last two on the bounce and need to get back to winnings ways. This will not be easy as they’re facing a very solid Timbers side who don’t give their opponents points at home.

Whitecaps 1-0 defeat away at Sporting Kansas City was a disappointing one, as they would have expected to win.

Even more importance is placed on the next few fixtures for Whitecaps as they will face Seattle Sounders at the beginning of August.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

Portland have five injury worries coming into this one. Ben Zemanski remains out, while Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Norberto Paparatto and Adam Kwarasey are doubts. Alvas Powell is one booking away from a suspension.

Vancouver Whitecaps have three injury doubts. Sam Adekugbe, Pedro Morales and Pa Modou Kah could all miss out.

Key Points

Portland Timbers’ last five in MLS: W/L/W/W/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five in MLS: W/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Fortress – Portland Timbers have won their last five regular season home matches and kept five clean sheets in their last six MLS games.

Key Player: Fanendo Adi – Timbers top scorer has showed this season he has the qualities to produce in the big ties, and will hope to get back on track in this one.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps – Portland to continue to keep teams out at Providence Park and make it another frustrating outing for Whitecaps.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Real Salt Lake 

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, May 30th – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Real Salt Lake 100/30

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps entertain Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening as both sides come into the tie off the back of a loss.

The Whitecaps lost 1-0 away at Colorado Rapids last weekend but are still sitting third in the Western Conference. They are three points ahead of Salt Lake going into the game, the two met earlier in the season with Whitecaps coming out on top in a 1-0 win.

Carl Robinson’s side have already lost five regular season games and need to regain some consistency they showed early on in the season when they won their opening four.

Embed from Getty Images

They have only won one in their last five and risk falling back down the Western Conference if they don’t pick up their performances.

Real Salt Lake lost 1-0 to LA Galaxy on Wednesday night and are sitting just one point outside the playoffs.

Jeff Cassar’s side have been inconsistent but things are on the up since their five game run without a win earlier in the season.

RSL have two home regular season games on the bounce after this one giving them a great chance of picking up some valuable points.

Embed from Getty Images

Scoring is a little bit of a problem for Cassar’s side, with his frontline only registering four goals. He will be routing for João Plata to start scoring now he is back in the fold after his metatarsal injury.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have six injury concerns going into this tie. Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos are still both ruled out, while Sam Adekugbe, Diego Rodriguez, Robert Earnshaw and Erik Hurtado are doubts. Pa Modou Kah and Gershon Koffie are both one booking away from a suspension as is Adekugbe, but he may not feature.

Real Salt Lake have two injury concerns. Chris Schuler looks set to miss out, while Sebastian Jaime is a doubt. Kyle Beckerman is one booking away from a suspension. Javier Morales could be in line for a start after coming off the bench in the midweek loss to Galaxy. Jamison Olave is suspended after picking up a red card on Wednesday.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/D/W/L/L

Real Salt Lake’s last five: D/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake have only won one in the last five meetings between the two sides.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The playmaker has scored twice and created 35 chances for teammates this season.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Real Salt Lake – A tight affair between two sides who need to find consistency.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs DC United

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. DC United 

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, April 25th – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 8/11 – Draw 5/2 – DC United 4/1

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps welcome DC United to BC Place on Saturday evening as they look to remain top of the Western Conference against a DC side sitting in second in the Eastern Conference.

The Whitecaps have had an impressive start to the season, winning five of eight games, but Carl Robinson will know his side will be hard pushed for a win in this one.

Embed from Getty Images

Robinson’s side got back to winning ways last weekend with a 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake and he will be hoping Octavio Rivero will end his two-game goalless run after starting the season so well, with five goals in six games.

Ben Olsen’s DC have drawn back-to-back games and fallen off the pace a little. They are joint top of the Eastern Conference with the Red Bulls, second only on goal difference, but have played one game more than their rivals.

Goals look like they could be a tough thing to come by from this DC United forward line, as Chris Rolfe and Jairo Arrieta have netted just one each so far and the return of Fabian Espindola from suspension is a huge boost for last year’s Eastern Conference winners.

Embed from Getty Images

DCU would have expected to win last weekend against Houston Dynamo and will be disappointed they couldn’t hold out at home to Owen Coyle’s side after taking the lead.

This is going to be a hard-fought game and if either side can come away with all three points it will be a great result.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have three injury concerns as Andre Lewis, Marco Bustos and Diego Rodriguez could all be sidelined, while Kendall Watson is just one yellow card away from a suspension after racking up four cautions already.

DC United have four sidelined as Markus Halsti, Eddie Johnson, Steve Birnbaum and Collin Martin are all struggling with injuries. Olsen knows his side will be in for a difficult tie, playing against a Whitecaps side who are the joint top-scorers so far this campaign.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: W/W/D/L/W

DC United’s last five: L/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: Octavio Rivero has scored just one goal less than the whole of the DC United side combined this season.

Embed from Getty Images

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver playmaker has three assists so far this campaign and his range of passing can unlock even the toughest of defences. If DCU can stop him getting on the ball they have a good chance here.

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 DC United – The Whitecaps have what it takes to edge this one and home advantage will play a part as they are likely to remain top of the Western Conference and MLS Supporters Shield standings after eight weeks.