No team in MLS faces a tougher midweek ask to start Week 12 than Atlanta United, who after a home win Sunday travel across the continent to face the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night (10 pm ET | TSN, MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
Just don’t expect any sympathy from the Whitecaps and their head coach Marc Dos Santos, who has two additional days to prepare his club for the cross-conference clash.
“My concern is the Whitecaps on Wednesday, and the Whitecaps on Wednesday are going to be fully recovered from Friday,” Dos Santos said this week. “Atlanta’s not my problem. I’m not paid to suffer with Atlanta. That’s up to them to think about that.”
As far as whether the defending MLS Cup champions and their coach, Frank de Boer, will rotate their squad, that’s an issue Dos Santos will deal with when it arises.
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“What we’ll do as a club and the video and what we prepare with the guys, is we prepare to play against the best Atlanta team,” he said. “We don’t know. The other things are out of our control.”
Dos Santos believes four days of recovery should be enough for his group, which defended for a large portion of their 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers last Friday after Fredy Montero’s early goal.
The victory marked Dos Santos’ first back-to-back coaching wins since taking the helm of the club, and overall the Caps have earned 10 of their 12 points in their last five matches.
Still, after recording their last win despite conceding 27 shots, Dos Santos believes there’s another level left for his rebuilding club to reach.
“The same way I was in front of you when the team wasn’t winning, and I was calm with it and believing in the process, and now I’m the same way,” he said. “Because I still think that there’s so much more that we could become as a club, and I’m not satisfied yet.”
Dos Santos also revealed Yordy Reyna is progressing more quickly from a hamstring strain than first expected, though he won't figure in Wednesday's action. The attacker, who has a goal in eight league appearances this season, hasn’t played since the end of April.
“In the beginning, I said there’s no chance he plays in May,” Dos Santos said. “Now I don’t know. I could be wrong and that could be our signing in the window. Yordy Reyna.”