MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Philadelphia Union

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, May 9th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver 7/10 – Draw 11/4 – Philadelphia 15/4

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night in what looks like it could be a routine win for the Canadian side as they have started the season the better of the two.

The Whitecaps currently lie second in the Western Conference and had they not endured a recent drop in form, they would be top of the Supporters’ Shield standings.

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Much of their early season charge has been down to the form of star striker Octavio Rivero but his run has dried up. They will need him on top form to pick up three points here.

Vancouver Whitecaps’ 2015 MLS record: P10 – W5 – D2 – L3

Philadelphia have had a dreadful start to 2015 and it just doesn’t seem to be working for Jim Curtin’s men.

Having lost their last three, and with only one win all season, they need a drastic improvement if they want to challenge for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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It will be a tough ask for them to win here as they have the worst defensive record in MLS, having conceded 18 so far.

Philadelphia Union’s 2015 MLS record: P10 – W1 – D3 – L6

Team News

Vancouver will be without Andre Lewis and Marco Bustos who are both out. Diego Rodriguez and Steve Beitashour are both doubts but the latter is expected to start at right-back.

Philadelphia are without Andre Birch, John McCarthy, Michael Lahoud and Antoine Hoppenot for the trip to Canada. Eric Bird, Vincent Nogueira and Steven Vitoria are all doubts as well.

Key Points

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

Philadelphia Union’s last five: W/D/L/L/L

Key Stat: There has only been one away win in this fixture and that came in July 2013 when Philadelphia won 1-0 in Vancouver.

Key Player: Octavio Rivero – Designated Player Rivero has made a sensational start to life in MLS and could prove the difference once again as he looks to find his goalscoring form once again.

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Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 Philadelphia Union – The Whitecaps to ease to victory against a Union side struggling for form and results. Vancouver haven’t been great in recent weeks but should be far too strong for their opponents this week.

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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.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Vancouver Whitecaps

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

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Saturday, April 18th – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 21/20 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 5/2

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake welcome high flying Vancouver Whitecaps to Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday evening in what is one of the standout fixtures of the weekend.

RSL are still unbeaten so far this campaign, winning two and drawing three, but they will have to be at their best to keep that run going against the Whitecaps this weekend.

Vancouver’s start to the season has been brilliant but they have already lost twice, including in their outing, and that will encourage Jeff Cassar and his side.

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The ‘Caps lost at San Jose last weekend while Salt Lake drew at Sporting Kansas City, so both sides will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday night.

Real Salt Lake will be hoping key man Javier Morales can influence a win this weekend, as he has scored two so far this campaign and been the standout player in the squad after six weeks.

RSL are certainly missing striker Joao Plata in his absence through injury as they have registered just one goal from their forwards, but are coping well and the team will only get stronger when he returns.

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Alvaro Saborio needs to start getting amongst the goals on a more regular basis but things are certainly looking promising for the team.

The Whitecaps will be looking to provide Octavio Rivero with as many chances as possible. The Uruguayan forward has five goals in seven games and is largely to thank for their position at the top of the Western Conference.

Team News

Real Salt Lake have five injury concerns. Joao Plata will continue to be unavailable for some time, while Sebastian Jaime, Demar Phillips, Justen Glad and Pecka could all be set to sit this one out.

Vancouver Whitecaps also have five concerns as Andre Lewis, Marco Bustos, Mauro Rosales, Gershon Koffie and Diego Rodriguez are all struggling with injuries. They will also be without playmaker Pedro Morales who is suspended.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s form: D/D/W/W/D

Vancouver Whitecaps form: W/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: Unbeaten – RSL are one of only two unbeaten sides in MLS this season but this will be their toughest challenge yet.

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Key Player: Octavio Rivero – Rivero has arguably been the league’s most impressive player so far this season, and it will be interesting to see how RSL set up to stop him.

Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – Real Salt Lake to keep their unbeaten run going in a tough fixture. With both sides coming into the game without a win last weekend it is difficult to separate the two, though Vancouver need to make sure they can cope without Pedro Morales to get anything from the game.

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Vancouver Whitecaps

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

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Saturday, April 11th – 10:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: San Jose Earthquakes 7/5 – Draw 12/5 – Vancouver Whitecaps 9/5

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes welcome Western Conference leaders, Vancouver Whitecaps, to Avaya Stadium this Saturday.

The Quakes have lost their last two after back-to-back wins and are sitting seventh in the Western Conference after five weeks of play.

Their 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake last weekend was a disappointing result but not a lot can be done to avoid conceding a goal like Javier Morales’ strike, so Quakes can feel a little hard-done by, especially as they showed promise for much of the game.

The Whitecaps’ four-game win streak came to an end on Wednesday night with their 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew. After losing their first of the season, Carl Robinson has been getting it right and his side are now leading the way in the Supporters’ Shield standings after going unbeaten in five.

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Vancouver’s impressive run is being helped no end by the scintillating form of forward Octavio Rivero, who has five in six and tops the MLS scoring charts early on this season.

For the Quakes, Chris Wondolowski has enjoyed a good start to the season too and has netted three in five. His partnership with Innocent Emeghara could prove to be a hit this campaign, though the two will not feature together this weekend as Emeghara is suspended.

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The last two meetings between these two in San Jose have ended 0-0 so we are hoping for a bit more entertainment in their first clash at Avaya Stadium.

Team News

San Jose Earthquakes are littered with injuries at the moment as Mark Sherrod, Steven Lenhart, Jordan Stewart, Paulo Renato, Marvell Wynne and Shaun Francis are expected to miss out. They will also be without Innocent Emeghara as he is suspended for one game so Dominic Kinnear has his options limited.

Vancouver Whitecaps are set to be without three as Andre Lewis, Mauro Rosales and Marco Bustos are set to miss out. Gershon Koffie is battling a knee injury but should be fit to play. We could see some changes from Carl Robinson after his side played on Wednesday night and he could be looking to keep things fresh with squad rotation. Kekuta Manneh started that game on the bench but should start in this one.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ form: L/W/W/L/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: W/W/W/W/D

Key Stat: Unbeaten – The Whitecaps haven’t lost to the Quakes since 2012 and given their form, it’s hard to see past that run continuing.

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Key Player: Octavio Rivero – If the service is as good as it has been all season we could see Rivero continue his remarkable scoring run.

Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps – The Quakes have suffered two losses on the bounce and given how good the Whitecaps have been, they should still be top of the Western Conference after the weekend.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs LA Galaxy

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

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, April 4th – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 19/10 – Draw 9/4 – LA Galaxy 7/5

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps take on LA Galaxy on Saturday evening as they look to continue their three-game winning streak against last season’s MLS Cup winners.

Vancouver, who lost their first game of the season, have found good form and beaten some tough opponents, including the likes of Orlando City and Chicago Fire away from home.

They come into this game of an important victory against Cascadia rivals, Portland Timbers, and will hope the home support can help them edge this one too.

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By contrast, the Galaxy haven’t won since their season opener, drawing twice and losing last time out at DC United and Bruce Arena needs to turn these results around and get back to winning ways quickly.

The Whitecaps haven’t beaten Galaxy in their last five attempts, losing four, but will hope they can catch their opponents out based on both sides’ form.

This will tie will see Octavio Rivero compared to Robbie Keane as the two forwards have started the season well, scoring five goals between them.

Rivero earned the MLS Player of the Month award for March after hitting the ground running and he will cause problems for the Galaxy backline on Saturday night.

Four of Galaxy’s forwards have already netted this season, showing the versatility in the squad to find important goals like Alan Gordon’s late equaliser against the Timbers.

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The Whitecaps will have to be aware of this and ensure they aren’t tiring late on in the game as Arena has depth in his squad to change a game from the bench.

Vancouver have only beaten their Western Conference rivals once in 12 matches in all competitions since entering the league, but the Galaxy haven’t won away from home in their last eight games, including the playoffs, so things look to be in the Whitecaps’ favour.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps are set to be without Andre Lewis (knee) and Mauro Rosales (ankle) for this tie. Defender, Diego Rodriguez will serve the second of his two-match ban for violent conduct and is also out. Carl Robinson will be urging his side to feed Rivero once again and will hope they can take advantage of a slightly unsteady Galaxy side at this early stage of the season.

La Galaxy have three injury concerns to Brian Perk (ankle), Kenney Walker (groin) and Leonardo (thigh) to deal with. The Galaxy are looking strong and will welcome the returns of Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane from international duty. Once they click into gear they look like they’ll be a force to be reckoned with and will hope to get back to winning ways in Vancouver.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/W/W/W

LA Galaxy’s form: W/D/D/L

Key Stat: The Vancouver Whitecaps have never won their fifth game of the season in MLS (P4 W0 D1 L3). They lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids in last year’s fifth game after starting the season unbeaten.

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Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Whitecaps forward has been in impressive form and has the chance to continue to show what he is made of against one of the league’s top sides. He could really shine in a huge game for both sides.

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 2-2 LA Galaxy – The Galaxy’s winless run could well continue here as they face some really tough opposition who are in great form and full of confidence. An away draw would be a good result and this should be an entertaining one.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, March 28 – 20:00 ET (00:00 GMT)

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

Match Preview

BC Place will play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday night as they travel to Vancouver to play the Whitecaps in a key Western Conference clash in the what is the first match of the 2015 Cascadia Cup series.

These rivals from the Pacific Northwest always put on entertaining games and with both seemingly unaffected by the international break, this should be no different.

Vancouver come into the game off the back of two consecutive away wins and will want to replicate their away from when they return to BC Place for the first time since opening weekend on Saturday night.

Vancouver Whitecaps players celebrate after win at Orlando City (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Vancouver Whitecaps players celebrate after win at Orlando City (Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Having won the last two away matches 1-0, the Whitecaps are used to low-scoring affairs and we’re expecting this one to be no different.

They will be hugely reliant on star striker, Octavio Rivero, as he has scored in each of their opening three games. Can he make it four in a row on Saturday?

Portland will feel disappointed with their form so far this season, as they are a side with great potential. Three draws in three is not great, but it’s not time to man the panic stations yet. They will see this fixture as winnable, despite being away from home.

After seeing a lead slip away twice in their clash with the LA Galaxy two weeks ago, and then a 0-0 draw with Sporting Kansas City last time out, Portland could do with a win here against a Vancouver side that will battle for the MLS Playoffs with the Timbers come the end of the campaign.

Portland TImbers vs Sporting KC

The Sporting Kansas City game was not the first 0-0 draw this season for the Timbers as they played out a goalless draw on the opening weekend against Real Salt Lake and finding the net has been a bit of a problem early on.

Portland will be a force this year and it’s time they started putting points on the board.

Team News

Vancouver will be without Mauro Rosales (ankle) and Andre Lewis (knee). Early season sensation Sam Adekugbe will also miss the game with a rib injury. Christian Dean, Russell Teibert and Darren Mattocks are all away on international duty.

Portland travel to Canada without Will Johnson (leg), Diego Valeri (knee), Ben Zemanski (knee) and Michael Nanchoff (hernia). Jack Jewsbury is a doubt with concussion, while Alvas Powell is on international duty with Jamaica.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/W/W

Portland Timbers’ form: D/D/D

Key Stat: Portland scored three times in each of the three meetings with Vancouver in 2014, winning 3-0 at BC Place in a memorable game for Timbers fans.

Octavio Rivero celebrates his goal against Toronto FC (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong)

Octavio Rivero celebrates his goal against Toronto FC (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jimmy Jeong)

Key Player: Octavio Rivero – The Uruguayan striker has been a huge hit this season, and has scored each of Vancouver’s three goals so far. He could well be the match winner once again.

Score Prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Portland Timbers – These fierce rivals are both looking strong this season but there will be little to separate them on Saturday night. The Timbers have drawn every game so far and that result looks to be the most likely outcome of this one as both will be desperate to avoid defeat.