Soccer

Wileman: Back on right track, Whitecaps host Chivas on TSN2

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Luke Wileman
7/11/2014 1:20:58 PM
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After two disappointing performances following the World Cup break, the Whitecaps returned to winning ways at home to Seattle Sounders last Saturday. The Caps now have the opportunity to make it back-to-back victories when they host Chivas USA at BC Place on Saturday night, live on TSN 2.

The Form:

The Whitecaps failed to score against Montreal Impact and Colorado Rapids but they found the net against Seattle thanks to another wonder-strike from Sebastian Fernandez.

The 1-0 win against the Sounders was the Whitecaps 4th clean sheet of the season, and their second in a row at home. Honduran international Johnny Leveron had arguably his best game as a Cap in the centre of defence alongside Carlyle Mitchell, and defensive consistency should now be an aim for a club that has conceded two or more goals in half of its 16 matches.

The Whitecaps have only lost once in their last nine matches and haven't been beaten at home since early April. They are fifth in the Western Conference standings but with Portland and LA Galaxy close behind in the race for the playoffs.

The Big Question:

Can the Whitecaps stop Erick Torres? The young Mexican is the reigning MLS Player of the Week, and he is currently one of the league's hottest strikers. He has scored 12 goals this season, including the winner in the last three matches and is second in scoring in MLS.

Torres has been a tormentor for the Caps in the last couple of meetings. He scored against them when the teams drew 1-1 in California in March and got two goals in the 2-2 tie at BC Place last season.

"He has super movement and is an excellent finisher so we will have to be on our game, not just the defenders but as a team," said Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson.

The Opposition:

Chivas USA are in excellent form as they arrive at BC Place. Having spent most of the season adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference, they have won their last three matches in a row and are now five points behind the Whitecaps.

It hasn't just been about the excellent form of Torres. Chivas' resurgence has been led by a new-found defensive solidity. They have kept three consecutive clean sheets, winning all of their last three matches by a score of 1-0.

Chivas have strengthened their squad with the arrivals of some experienced MLS talent such as Marvin Chavez and Nathan Sturgis. They have also recently welcomed defensive midfielder Oswaldo Minda back from the World Cup where he appeared in two matches for Ecuador.

The Lineup:

With three matches in the space of a week, including two on the road, Carl Robinson will likely need to rely on his squad depth over the next week. Kicking off the week at home to Chivas there's a good chance he will name the same XI that started against Seattle.

The Odds:

The Whitecaps need to pick up points against the teams below them in the Western Conference standings, and also make home advantage count. Despite the string recent form of Chivas USA, Vancouver will go into this game as favourites, as they look to record consecutive victories for just the second time this season.

Where to Watch:

Vancouver Whitecaps against Chivas USA is live on TSN 2 on Saturday night at 10pm ET, 7pm PT.

Fernandez and Robinson (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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