MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, June 27 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST – Sunday, June 28)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 2/1

Match Preview

New England Revolution welcome Vancouver Whitecaps to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night for the only meeting between the two sides in MLS this season.

The Revs come into the game after a 2-1 midweek defeat away at the Columbus Crew and they’re currently second in the Eastern Conference with 24 points from 18 games, but ten points behind conference leaders DC United.

New England have only recorded one victory in their last nine games (D4, L4), although they remain undefeated on home soil and need to return to winning ways as soon as possible in order to avoid slipping down the table.

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Only Philadelphia Union have conceded more goals than Jay Heaps’ side in MLS this season, so they need to stop allowing opponents so many chances to punish them. The Revs do boast the second most clinical attack though – only LA Galaxy (26 goals) have scored more than New England (24 goals).

Vancouver Whitecaps will play their third of four straight road games on Saturday night, but they have enjoyed two consecutive victories, beating both LA Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls away from home.

Carl Robinson will be confident that he can inspire his side to condemn New England to their first home defeat for 19 games in a similar way the Whitecaps ended LA Galaxy’s impressive home form a few weeks ago after they hadn’t lost on home soil for over a year.

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The Whitecaps are currently second in an extremely competitive Western Conference with 29 points from 17 games – they’re only separated from leaders Seattle via goal difference.

The last time these two met, it ended all square with a goalless draw back in March 2014. Vancouver Whitecaps have never beaten New England away from home (D1, L2) and will be looking to change that fact on Saturday night.

Team News

New England will be without Andy Dorman who is serving a one match ban for accumulation of too many yellow cards, while Darrius Barnes (knee) and Jermaine Jones (surgery) are out with injuries.

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Vancouver’s Gershon Koffie and Kendall Waston will both miss the game through suspension. Sam Adekugbe and Andre Lewis are both doubts for the game as they’re struggling with injuries.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five in MLS: D/L/W/L/L

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

Key Stat: New England are undefeated in their last 19 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Charlie Davies – The New England forward has been in impressive goalscoring form in 2015 and could be the man to fire the Revs to victory.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – This is likely to be a tightly contested affair with some real quality on show, but it will probably end all square.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps

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

Venue: Providence Park – Saturday, May 2nd – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST – Sunday, May 3rd)

Match Odds: Portland Timbers 23/20 – Draw 23/10 – Vancouver Whitecaps 12/5

Match Preview

Portland Timbers welcome Vancouver Whitecaps to Providence Park for the third match in the 2015 MLS Cascadia Cup series between the teams from the pacific northwest.

The Timbers are seventh in the Western Conference coming into this clash after they narrowly lost their last game away at the Seattle Sounders in what was also a Cascadia Cup match and they’ve only won two of their first eight games (D3, L3).

Caleb Porter and his side would’ve hoped for a better start to the season but they will know it’s still very early days and they’ve already overcome a number of tricky fixtures against the likes of LA Galaxy and Seattle.

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Vancouver Whitecaps are flying high and currently sit top of both the Western Conference and the Supporters’ Shield standings with 16 points from their opening nine games and have made their second best ever start to an MLS season – the Whitecaps had 17 points from their first nine games in 2012.

Since a run of four straight wins, Carl Robinson‘s side have dipped slightly with just one win in their last four (D1, L2) and they suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to FC Dallas last time out, although Vancouver are the joint-second highest scorers in MLS this season with 11 goals – only Columbus Crew have netted more times (12).

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These two sides met just one month ago when the Whitecaps beat the Timbers 2-1 in dramatic fashion at BC Place. Nicolas Mezquida had given Vancouver the lead before Fanendo Adi equalised in the 82nd minute for Portland, but Robert Earnshaw scored a last-gasp winner to sink the Timbers.

The last meeting that took place at Providence Park saw Portland run out as 3-0 winners back in September 2014 and the Timbers will be desperate for a repeat result.

Team News

Portland Timbers have numerous absentees in midfield with Will Johnson, Ben Zemanski, Michael Nanchoff, Rodney Wallace and Diego Valeri all set to miss out through injury.

Vancouver Whitecaps are without the injured Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos, while Diego Rodriguez is a slight doubt after he missed the last game with a muscle strain.

Key Points

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

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

Key Stat: Vancouver Whitecaps have only beaten the Portland Timbers twice in 12 attempts in MLS (D4, L6).

Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Uruguayan is the joint top goalscorer in MLS so far this season having already found the net five times. He has been almost unplayable at times and the Timbers will need to find a way to stop him if they are to stand a chance of victory.

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Score Prediction

Portland Timbers 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – This is a clash that has all the makings of a classic and it should provide us with goals and entertainment but will probably end all square.

2014 MLS Season Review: Vancouver Whitecaps

Western Conference Final Position: 5th

Western Conference Playoffs: Knockout Round

Review

Despite their agonising exit from the playoffs via a 2-1 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas, the 2014 season will go down as the best so far for the Vancouver Whitecaps since they began competing in Major League Soccer in 2011. It saw them record their highest points tally (50) – their previous best was the 48 points they accumulated last season (2013).

Best Moment

Their five-game unbeaten run at the end of the season is the biggest highlight as they charged towards the playoff positions and nipped in ahead of Portland Timbers by just one point.

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Worst Moment

The 84th minute penalty conceded by Kendall Watson after he was controversially adjudged to have handled the ball intentionally against FC Dallas in the playoff knockout game. Some will argue that it was the right call to award the spot kick, while many will say very much the opposite. Whatever way you dress it up, it’s a gut wrenching way to lose any game of soccer, let alone bow out of the playoffs. You have to sympathise for the Whitecaps who had worked ever so hard to be in such a great position this season.

Player of the Year

Pedro Morales is a name that has rightly popped up frequently when discussing the Vancouver team. The Chilean has been an inspiration in midfield and to finish the 2014 season as the top goalscorer and assist-maker at the club shows how crucial he is and will continue to be. Keeping hold of him is essential to their future.

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Biggest Win

Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1 New York Red Bulls (March 9 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Vancouver Whitecaps 0-3 Portland Timbers (August 31 2014)

Portland Timbers 3-0 Vancouver Whitecaps (September 20 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There are numerous positives to take from their performance this year. They have shown a gradual improvement for every season that they have been in MLS and this should fill them with confidence that they can continue to grow.

Vancouver Whitecaps points tally since participation in Major League Soccer:

Whitecaps points tallies

One area they could look to improve is up-front. They have lacked a prolific goalscorer and have relied heavily on Pedro Morales to do the business from midfield. The man with the most goals for the Whitecaps other than Morales is Darren Mattocks with six.

The news of Erick Torres becoming a free agent in the close season is interesting and he could be someone that’s on their radar as they look to fill that void.

Vancouver Whitecaps have the potential to be one of the strongest teams for the 2015 season.