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Vancouver Whitecaps Scouting Report: Waston wants a red

Long distance shots and Kendall Waston’s fouling ability will be the story of this match

Sounders vs. Whitecaps: Photos Photo credit - MikeRussellFoto

Vancouver has played poorly all year, underachieving about as much as Seattle has in 2016. They have been inconsistent on both sides of the ball for much of the season, but their defense has finally started to improve in recent weeks. While the ‘Caps have scored an average of 1.27 goals per match, they’ve conceded an average of 1.55 a match—this makes their 1.17 points per game slightly impressive. Their road form is particularly woeful, though their 4-9-2 record away from home is still better than Portland, Seattle, and San Jose.

Kendall Waston should be the backbone of one of MLS’ strongest backlines—but his side has conceded the most goals in the Western Conference. Waston’s poor individual play and the lack of effective fullbacks, the Whitecaps have plenty of holes for opponents to exploit. Seattle should have plenty of chances to do so, if they can take advantage.

Nicolas Lodeiro will likely get marked by Matias Laba, Tim Parker, or Jordan Harvey, while Waston will probably be on Jordan Morris duty. Without Clint Dempsey, it’s up to Lodeiro and Morris to face this defense; expect Lodeiro and the rest to put through balls past the defense for Morris to run onto. Waston has the speed and strength to knock Morris around, but his tendency to foul around the 18 should give Seattle more than a few free kick opportunities—maybe even a red card. Even though the Whitecaps defense has improved as of late and Seattle’s offense has stalled a bit recently, playing at home with their backs against the wall should be enough for Lodeiro and company to get some goals.

Offensively, Vancouver is pretty solid—even without Octavio Rivero. Christian Bolanos and Cristian Techara will create plenty of trouble from the wings, but it’s the two traditional central attackers in Giles Barnes and Pedro Morales that could be the real threats. Techara and Bolanos will push higher up on the wings to keep the fullbacks occupied, creating space for Barnes and Morales to get shots off from distance. Roman Torres and Chad Marshall are not the perfect pairing for this match, because Morales and Barnes will likely draw at least one of them out of position to allow a late runner into the box to do some damage. Defensive discipline will be of the utmost importance. Torres has an extra step or two on Marshall to help him recover quickly, but it’ll still be risky for Seattle. Alonso and Roldan may need to stay back, or at least track Morales and Barnes, depending on who is playing “target forward” and who is playing in the number 10 role. If the CBs are disciplined and Alonso can provide adequate support, the Sounders could easily shut down a Whitecaps offense that has no aerial threats or strong prototypical strikers.

Will Seattle give up a goal? Yes. Will Seattle score a goal? Yes. Will Seattle score more goals than they concede? Hopefully, but yes. There’s still no Clint Dempsey or Brad Evans, but the Rave Green should be ready to get the offense going against their rivals from the North. Waston will see a card, hopefully it’ll be red. Morales or Barnes will score on a great shot from outside, but it'll be Nicholas Lodeiro running the show again as Seattle wins and pushes towards the playoffs.


Vancouver: Ousted; Aird, Parker, Waston, Harvey; Laba, Teibert; Bolanos, Morales, Techara; Barnes

Sounders: Frei; Mears, Torres, Marshall, Jones; Alonso, Roldan; Fernandez, Lodeiro, Ivanschitz; Morris

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