Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Sporting Kansas City | MLS Match Preview

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs SPORTING KANSAS CITY
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
Aug. 10, 2014 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #209)
5 p.m. PT (TSN; KMCI-38)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will face a real test when they play host to a Sporting Kansas City leading the overall table and looking to maintain a road winning run when the clubs meet Sunday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC reached their fourth consecutive draw in their last match, a 1-1 tie at the Chicago Fire on July 30. Sporting have won five consecutive games on the road, their undefeated run now at eight games after taking over the lead in the race for the Supporters’ Shield following their 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union last weekend.

REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Brian Dunn; AR2 (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Baboucarr Jallow
MLS Career: 30 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 11; pens: 3

SUSPENDED: None
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez, Matias Laba … KC: Paulo Nagamura
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Andy O’Brien, Pedro Morales, Nigel Reo-Coker, Jordan Harvey … KC: Antonio Dovale, Benny Feilhaber, Eric Kronberg, Kevin Ellis, Dom Dwyer, Lawrence Olum, Seth Sinovic
DISABLED LIST: VAN: Calen Clarke (season-ending injury) … KC: Peterson Joseph, Ike Opara, Chance Myers (season-ending injury)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: None

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 6 goals … Sporting 2 wins, 9 goals … Ties 2
AT VANCOUVER (2 meetings): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 4 goals … Sporting 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 1

LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/3: KC 1, VAN 1 (Collin 35 – Sanvezzo 45)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • Sporting are undefeated all-time against Whitecaps FC, with two victories and two draws in four meetings all-time. The teams reached a 1-1 draw in the lone meeting between the teams last year, July 3 at Sporting Park.
  • Coaches record: Peter Vermes vs. VAN: P4 W2 L0 T2 … Carl Robinson vs. KC: first game

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reached their fourth consecutive draw, playing to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire on July 30 at Toyota Park. Whitecaps FC sit in sixth place in the Western Conference with 29 points from 21 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Perhaps the best chance of the match came in the 49th minute when Vancouver midfielder Erik Hurtado was denied by a superb Sean Johnson kick save after the Whitecaps forward broke through one-on-one in the right side of the area. Johnson was credited with two saves for the match.
  • Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted was also credited with a pair of saves in the clean sheet.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made no changes to the team that came back for a 2-2 result with FC Dallas at BC Place.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Steven Beitashour, Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie (Russell Teibert 57), Matias Laba - Erik Hurtado (Kekuta Manneh 77), Pedro Morales, Sebastian Fernandez (Omar Salgado 58) - Darren Mattocks.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC played to their fourth consecutive draw, their 11th of the season. That’s second-most in the league, behind the Chicago Fire (now 13).
  • “It's not nice drawing all these games, but we're picking things up as we go along,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said. “We want to win more. We know we need to win more if we're going to get to our end target this year and that'll continue for the next 13-odd games.”
  • For a fourth time this season, Robinson maintained an unchanged team in consecutive league matches.
  • “I made the decision because they'd played so well,” Robinson said. “Was it the right decision? I don't know. We picked up a point on the road in a difficult place. I sensed it a little bit in the warm up. I thought they were excellent on Sunday with the performance so I made the decision to keep it the same, but they looked a little bit tired and a little bit leggy in the early part of the game. That makes you think, maybe I should have inserted it [more pep]. That's why I made the substitutions early, to try and get a bit of life into it and to try and win the game, but unfortunately we couldn't.”
  • Whitecaps FC kept a clean sheet for the first time since May 10, their fifth defensive shutout of the season. It was their third scoreless draw on the league campaign.
  • “I thought it was a story of two teams trying but not really getting there.  Both teams really wanted to go for it, but the ability just wasn’t there,” said goalkeeper David Ousted. “… It’s always nice to get a clean sheet, especially away from home. But it’s finding the balance of doing well both defensively and offensively in the same game. We’re still looking for that.”
  • Said forward Omar Salgado: “It was a hard fought match. 0-0s are always hard-fought games. Chicago is a good team, and we came in here knowing who we are playing, and it’s good to get a clean sheet. Both teams had their chances. I feel like we had the clear chance with Eric, and if we put that away, it’s a 1-0 game, and we take it away.”
  • Russell Teibert returned to the squad after a two-match absence, coming off the substitutes’ bench for his first appearance since starting July 16 vs. Toronto FC.
  • “I'm more focused here on what I'm doing with the development of these young players and developing a team, not just to be successful this year but to be successful in the next two, three, five years, because that's the most important thing when you're building a club,” Robinson said. “I know what we're doing is right and how we're developing players is right and the players are getting opportunities. More young players will continue to get opportunities if I think it's right and they are close, but they'll all be better for next year, as I will be as well.”

SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City saw their winning streak come to an end but extended their undefeated run to eight games, reaching a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union on Friday evening at Sporting Park. Sporting lead the Eastern Conference and the MLS overall table with 39 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The hosts took the lead early in the second half. Toni Dovale found himself 1-v-1 with Union defender Maurice Edu near the top of the area, and Dovale tapped a pass past him to a streaking Graham Zusi, who finished inside the left post for the 53rd-minute opener.
  • But Union found a late equalizer. Raymon Gaddis sent in a cross from the left flank, and substitute Brian Brown got behind his marker to head it into the lower left corner to salvage a point.
  • Sporting manager Peter Vermes made two changes to the team that came back for a 2-1 win against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Kevin Ellis and Jacob Peterson came into the back four in place of Aurelien Collin and Seth Sinovic, and Jorge Claros and Antonio Dovale came into the side for Lawrence Olum and C.J. Sapong.
  • SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Andy Gruenebaum - Igor Juliao, Kevin Ellis, Aurelien Collin, Jacob Peterson - Benny Feilhaber - Jorge Claros, Mikey Lopez (Soony Saad 68) - Antonio Dovale (C.J. Sapong 69), Dom Dwyer (Martin Steuble 89), Graham Zusi.

TEAM NEWS

  • It was a second draw in the last eight matches for Sporting, who have not lost in league play since a 1-0 defeat at D.C. United on May 31.
  • “We want to win,” SKC manager Peter Vermes said. “I don't know what else to say. We want to win, and we want to get the points. That's why you see us go play the way we do on the road as well. We want to win, and we're disappointed. We're disappointed not coming out of that game with three points.”
  • Graham Zusi scored a goal for a second consecutive match, his making his third consecutive start and fourth overall since returning from the US national team and FIFA World Cup.
  • “It's always a little harder when the other team puts numbers behind the ball,” said Zusi. “But we're used to that and we know how to play against that. We can't use it as an excuse for not winning. We just weren't quite good enough. So that's disappointing.”
  • With Seth Sinovic out with a groin strain, Jacob Peterson was pressed into service at left back, his second start this season at fullback (also: May 18 vs. Chicago).
  • “When you make a lot of changes like we had to – we had Jake (Peterson) playing left back who actually did a darn good job ñ there was a lot of change in the team. And unfortunately, sometimes you lose that continuity and consistency,” Vermes said. “But I don't think the team played bad. I don't think they lacked work ethic. I think we had a good, solid game.”
  • Jorge Claros made his Sporting and MLS debut, coming into a deep-lying central midfield role and playing the full 90 minutes. Martin Steuble also made his Sporting and MLS debut, coming on as a very late substitute.
  • “He did good. I thought he moved the ball well. There's a couple things that he still needs to get adapted and adjusted to with us, but the bottom line is that he is a good player and a good addition to our team,” Vermes said.
  • Sporting have won five consecutive games on the road heading into Vancouver. It matches the club’s longest road winning streak and is the longest in MLS since 2005, when San Jose won five straight away games. The MLS record is seven road wins in a row, set in 1997 by the LA Galaxy and in 1999 by D.C. United.
  • “With the way we have been rolling, and playing at home with revenge on our minds, we definitely wanted to get three points,” goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said. “We wanted this in front of our home crowd to keep the momentum rolling. There are some positives we can take out of that, so we'll move on.”