MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: BC Place – Friday, August 12 – 23:00 ET (04:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver 19/20 – Draw 23/10 – San Jose 11/4

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps welcome San Jose Earthquakes to BC Place on Friday night in the opening game of an action packed weekend of Major League Soccer.

This is a game that could give one of these sides the upper hand in the race for a top six finish in the Western Conference. Vancouver are in a rut of form coming into this tie, they haven’t won in their last four outings.

Carl Robinson will be expecting his side to bring their three-game regular season goal-drought to an end here. This is an important tie for Whitecaps, as they are just two points ahead of San Jose coming into it.

Vancouver are 7th, they trail the top six by just two points and will be hoping they can close that gap and push for a playoff spot. There are plenty of games to go but they need to get on a run of form to ensure they are not struggling in the latter stages of the regular season.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

San Jose Earthquakes are unbeaten in their last four games but they come into this one having drawn three on the bounce.

The Quakes haven’t won a game on the road all season and that winless run stretches into the tail end of the 2015 campaign, a run of 13 winless games.

If they lose this tie and results go against them, San Jose could find themselves five points behind the top six.

This would be a huge game for them to finally pickup a win on their travels, but the stats make for tough reading for San Jose fans. They haven’t seen their side win at BC Place in their last six attempts.

Seattle Sounders vs San Jose Earthquakes

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have five injury concerns heading into this one as Christian Dean, Kekuta Manneh and Jordan Harvey are all out, while Deybi Flores and Marco Bustos are both doubtful.

San Jose Earthquakes also have five injury concerns as Marc Pelosi, Mark Sherrod, Clarence Goodson, Bryan Meredith and Kofi Sarkodie are all expected to miss out.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: W/D/D/L/L

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: L/W/D/D/D

Key Stat: Drought – Vancouver have failed to score in their last three Major League Soccer outings.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver Whitecaps playmaker will be itching to dictate the play here and guide his side to a win. He has six goals so far this season but he hasn’t netted in his last nine games, what a time it would be to break that duck.

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Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes – We can expect a cagey tie here given the form of both of these sides. Vancouver will be desperately looking to take advantage of San Jose’s dreadful away run but the Quakes will know they can frustrate their opponents and will not want their unbeaten run to come to an end here.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: StubHub Center – Monday, July 4 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 5/6 – Draw 13/5 – Whitecaps 16/5

Match Preview

LA Galaxy welcome Western Conference rivals Vancouver Whitecaps to StubHub Center on Monday evening.

Galaxy are in a bit of a rut of form and are now winless in their last seven regular season outings. However, they did manage to pick up a win in the US Open Cup on Wednesday.

Their last regular season outing was their 1-1 draw with San Jose, the first goal they had scored in over three league games.

Bruce Arena’s side have now drawn eight games this season, the second highest amount of draws in MLS 2016. They need to get back to winning ways to ensure they don’t slip out of the top six in the West as just one point separates them from eighth spot.

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Vancouver Whitecaps come into this one off the back of their 2-1 win in the Canadian Championship. Their last regular season action was their 3-2 win over Philadelphia, that result ended a three game winless run.

Whitecaps are currently fourth in the West but they’re only one point ahead of Galaxy. This is the second meeting between the sides this season, they drew the earlier fixture 0-0.

Vancouver are on a three game unbeaten streak against Galaxy after they won both league meetings between the sides last season.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

Team News

LA Galaxy could be without up to four players. Robbie Rogers is out, while Ariel Lassiter and Dan Kennedy are questionable. Ashley Cole is suspended following his red card last time out.

Vancouver Whitecaps could also be without four. Christian Dean and Masato Kudo are out, while Deybi Flores is a doubt. Kendall Waston is suspended.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/D/L/D/D

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

Key Stat: LA Galaxy are winless in their last seven regular season games, their longest streak without a victory since the 2012 season.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver star is their leading scorer this season with six. He could be key to unlocking the LA defence and ending their eight game unbeaten streak at home.

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Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – Yet another draw for Galaxy in a tie neither side can afford to lose. A share of the spoils wouldn’t be much of a surprise given how tight the Western Conference is at this stage of the season.

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.

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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.

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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.

Sporting Kansas City rally back to beat Whitecaps in thrilling seven-goal contest

By Jason Kurylo of ‘Pucked In The Head

Sporting Kansas City scored twice in the final ten minutes and once more in stoppage time to defeat the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps 4-3 in a thrilling Western Conference matchup on Saturday night. Sporting KC remains undefeated on home soil this season, and now climbs into fourth place in the Supporters’ Shield standings, just two behind Vancouver.

As late as the 81st minute, it looked as if their remarkable 7-0-4 home record would receive its first black mark, as the visitors held a 3-1 lead on a brace from speedster Kekuta Manneh and a wonderful free kick from 30 yards out by captain Pedro Morales.

Manneh’s goals were textbook counters. The first saw him turnover the ball just inside his own half, then run straight at the KC defence for fifty yards before left-footing it past ‘keeper Tim Melia. The second involved a similar turnover by Steven Beitashour, who scooted up the right flank and delivered a delicious cross to Manneh in the six-yard box. As for Morales, he came on in the 65th minute and doled out a handful of wonderful passes before hitting that free kick with medical precision.

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For a five-minute stretch after the Argentine’s highlight strike, Kansas City looked absolutely defeated. They had held the edge in play most of the night, but they were down by two, and that had been the game plan for the Whitecaps. The visitors were content to bide their time, let Sporting KC run at them, and look for counterstrike opportunities. It’s a strategy that has garnered them the best road record in MLS this season, and on this day it worked for most of the match.

But then Sporting Kansas City decided to set a record by coming back from two goals down in the 80th minute to win for the first time in club history. They become just the second ever MLS side to do so after DC United did back in 2003.

Krisztian Nemeth launched a perfect cross that found Dom Dwyer all alone in the box. He headed the ball past David Ousted, no mistake. Six minutes later, Chance Myers found Paulo Nagamura with room at the lip of the 18-yard box — he pounded a low one-timer into the far corner, and it was a tie game to the delight of the home crowd.

Queue the dramatic come-from-behind music; the Brazilian wasn’t finished. Deep into stoppage time, Soni Mustivar put a long cross toward the Vancouver goal, and Nagamura scored his second in a matter of minutes to lift the roof off Sporting Park.

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After the match, Vancouver coach Carl Robinson was livid with referee Juan Guzman. In particular, he cited a collision that happened with about 20 minutes left in the match, when it was still 3-1 for the visitors. Pa Madou Kah and Dom Dwyer ran into each other away from the ball, and each was attended by team medical staff. Both teams had already used their three substitutions, however, so they both stayed on the pitch. Dwyer would score one of his team’s late goals. Robinson ranted post-game that his defender had suffered a broken jaw on that play, contributing to a significant drop in performance and, in turn, the Kansas City comeback.

On a positive note for the losers, Vancouver has set aside worries that they can’t score. They’ve netted 14 goals in the past four league matches, and suddenly boast the second-best offence in the Western Conference. Worrying, however, is the fact that, including the Canadian Championship game against the Montreal Impact last week, the Whitecaps have squandered three two-goal leads in two games.

As for Sporting Kansas City, they’re now unbeaten in three and boast the best points-per-game record in Major League Soccer.

Sporting KC’s next match is on Wednesday, August 19, when they host the woeful San Jose Earthquakes. Vancouver hopes to get back in the win column when FC Dallas visits on Saturday, August 22.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Seattle Sounders

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

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, May 16th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver 11/8 – Draw 12/5 – Seattle 19/10

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps host Seattle Sounders in a huge Cascadia Cup game in MLS on Saturday night in the first of the three meetings between the Western Conference rivals this season.

Vancouver have already played two of their six Cascadia Cup games against the Portland Timbers, winning at home before drawing away and look to be in good shape at the top of the Western after 11 games.

Seattle have only played one Cascadia game so far as they beat Portland 1-0 at home and they will hope to move into pole position in the chase for the Cascadia Cup with a win over the Whitecaps this weekend.

That won’t be easy as Vancouver have not conceded a goal in their last two, beating Philadelphia Union last weekend 3-0 to calm any fears of a lapse after a slight dip. They started the season with four wins from their opening five but then only picked up one win in five before last weekend’s victory.

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They have been inconsistent but look in good shape heading into this clash. The Whitecaps have won the Cascadia Cup series the past two seasons and will expect to do so again this year as a result.

Seattle Sounders come into the game off the back of a 3-2 defeat in Columbus last weekend and they have not won in Vancouver for four years, so this is by no means a straightforward task for either side.

Seattle had won three in a row before last week’s loss and will look to recapture that form here. If Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are at their best, it will be almost impossible to stop them. The attacking duo are probably the most lethal in MLS and have 13 of the team’s 15 goals this season.

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The Whitecaps have their own attacking duo to unleash in the form of Pedro Morales and Octavio Rivero. The South American attackers have scored eight of Vancouver’s 14 goals this term.

Last season saw the Whitecaps go unbeaten against the Sounders, winning two games 1-0 and drawing the other 2-2. There are usually goals between these two and this has all the makings to be the game of the weekend.

Team News

Vancouver boss Carl Robinson has five injury worries heading into the game as Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos are both out, while Diego Rodriguez, Steven Beitashour and Mauro Rosales are all doubtful. Sam Adekugbe and Pa Modou Kah are one booking away from suspension and need to be careful. Darren Mattocks came off the bench to score his third of the season last week and will be pushing for a start here.

Seattle Sounders have no injury worries or suspensions to deal with and are at full strength. Sigi Schmid is likely to make changes after last week’s loss and Lamar Neagle could come in for Andy Rose. Dempsey and Martins will partner each other in attack.

Key Points

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

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

Key Stat: The Whitecaps have not lost to Seattle in their last five meetings, winning four of those games.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The Sounders’ hopes rest on Dempsey’s shoulders. The attacker has been phenomenal this year and has an MLS-leading seven goals so far with four more assists. Expect him to cause trouble for the Vancouver defence.

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Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 Seattle Sounders – Expect this one to have goals. Both sides boast some of the best attacking players in MLS but both team will not want to lose this. A draw is a likely outcome and the 2-2 draw from BC Place last season could well be repeated.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Analysis: Vancouver Whitecaps’ approach is aggressive but effective

The Vancouver Whitecaps currently sit at the top of the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings after five weeks of the regular season and their aggressive approach is working to great effect so far.

Saturday night’s 2-0 win against reigning champions, LA Galaxy, was their fourth in a row and that opening weekend defeat to Toronto seems like a long time ago already.

Carl Robinson has watched his side concede just one goal since the loss against their Canadian rivals and the Whitecaps have now scored seven in five – the tied most in MLS.

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Their attacking play has been good. Not great yet, but the signs are there that if everything clicks, the Whitecaps could be a dominant force.

Pedro Morales is the playmaker and makes everything tick. He already has the tied-most assists in MLS with three in five matches and is averaging two key passes per game.

In front of Morales is fellow Designated Player Octavio Rivero, who has already scored four in five and scooped the March Player of the Month award.

The South American pair have formed a good partnership early on in Vancouver colours and the duo are at the forefront of all the Whitecaps’ attacking play.

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Going forward, Vancouver play an aggressive, fast-paced game and look to hit teams on the counter attack. That is proved by their average possession statistic of 43.5% – the lowest in MLS after five weeks.

Despite seeing less of the ball than any other side, the Whitecaps have registered more shots on target (5.8) than any other team, proving that possession is not everything.

Vancouver Whitecaps statistics after five game

Vancouver Whitecaps’ team statistics after five games (stats via WhoScored.com)

Robinson deserves great credit for setting his team up in a system that keeps them solid at the back, but devastating on the counter.

It is an approach that could lead to low-scoring games as the Whitecaps will have to soak up pressure before attacking. But they have already scored three goals in the 86th minute or later to win matches against Chicago, Orlando and Portland.

Defensively, they have been good but that aggressive approach has seen them pick up more yellow cards (16) than any other side and they have made the second-highest number of fouls in MLS (80).

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The Vancouver Whitecaps have won four in a row for the first time ever as an MLS franchise and Saturday’s win against the LA Galaxy saw them put in their most complete performance this year.

They face Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at home, before a trip to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes next Saturday, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep up the aggression with two games in four days.

What have you made of the Vancouver Whitecaps so far this season? Do they deserve to be at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings?

Podcast: Vancouver Whitecaps, USMNT and England internationals

In this week’s MLSGB Podcast, Zack Walford talks to Jamie Ives and Louis East about the international break and how the US Men’s National Team fared as well as England in their games. While we also speak about the Vancouver Whitecaps after their impressive start to the 2015 MLS season.

Make sure you get in touch on Twitter: @MLSGB_ or comment below about any thoughts you have relating to the podcast.