Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Sporting Kansas City
2017 MLS Match Preview
BC Place – Vancouver, B.C.
Saturday, May 20 – 7 pm ET
WATCH: TSN; MLS LIVE in US
A rested Vancouver Whitecaps host Sporting Kansas City in a Saturday matchup sure to test SKC's ability to maintain momentum on the road. Sporting spoiled Seattle's mid-week trip to the Heart of America, with Gerso dropping a 13-minute, second-half hat trick on their heads, and Peter Vermes' men must now make it happen on the road, where they've relatively struggled this season (1-2-3). Yet Kansas City have enjoyed good success in Vancouver, and these boom-or-bust 'Caps, who drew their first match and have either won or lost every game since, are looking to rebound after last week's 2-1 away loss in Houston.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Whitecaps have continued a steady climb into the second-tier of the Western Conference standings, earning their place above the red line (13 points) without winning, or losing, more than two in a row. For what it's worth, they've won three of their last five home games (3-1-1), scoring multiple goals in all three victories.
Fredy Montero leads the team with four goals, though he hasn't scored since April, and Brek Shea picked up a few goals since returning early from injury. David Ousted remains the eraser of many an opposing opportunity, which keeps the 'Caps within striking distance most games.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT: D Brett Levis (ACL tear), M Yordy Reyna (foot surgery), D David Edgar (PCL, MCL tear), F Erik Hurtado (left foot contusion), D Christian Dean (foot injury), F Bernie Ibini (right hamstring strain)
Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1): GK: David Ousted — Sheanon Williams, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey — Matias Laba — Cristian Techera, Andrew Jacobson, Tony Tchani, Christian Bolaños — Fredy Montero
Notes: This is the second time in Shea's last eight league appearances that he has scored in consecutive games. He only had two multi-game scoring streaks in 119 previous regular-season appearances since 2010.
Sporting Kansas City
With Vermes rolling out a strong lineup midweek, Sporting received scoring contributions from not Dom Dwyer for a second straight contest. Gerso's hat trick came on the heels of Latif Blessing’s breakout brace against Orlando – the first multi-goal game by a Sporting player other than Dwyer since September 2015, when Benny Feilhaber scored a pair against FC Dallas. Sporting played 50 regular-season games between the two occurrences. If they can get Dom scoring at the same time the rest of the offense is firing, watch out!
SKC's defense has proven remarkably stout through the early going, allowing only seven goals through 12 games, with Ike Opara a notable standout so far. Former backline mate Jimmy Medranda has figured out the shift from left fullback to left wing, while Graham Zusi has flipped positions the other way (on the right side) to some success.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: Erik Palmer-Brown (US | U-20 World Cup)
- Injury Report: OUT: F Diego Rubio (torn ACL); QUESTIONABLE: F Soony Saad (ankle sprain), F Dom Dwyer (knee injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-3-3): GK: Tim Melia — Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinvoic - Roger Espinoza, Ilie Sanchez, Benny Feilhaber - Gerso Fernandez, Dom Dwyer, Jimmy Medranda
Notes: Sporting have drawn four of their most recent eight road games (1W-3L) and have failed to score in five of those eight matches. They have conceded four goals in their last two away games after conceding only one in the previous five on the road.
- Through 10 matches, SKC has dominated this matchup, rolling to a 6-1-3 record with a plus-6 differential. Vancouver has kept this closer at home, where they're 1-2-2 with a minus-1 differential. Yet Sporting is unbeaten against Vancouver since (4-0-1) since 2015. The Whitecaps have been outscored 10-5 during the streak.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Mike Rottersman, Eduardo Mariscal
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow