Whitecaps FC vs Chivas Matchup Insight
Following their confident victory over Montreal to kick off the MLS season, the Vancouver Whitecaps travel to the Home Depot Center to play Chivas, a suburban LA outfit, who share their home stadium with the Galaxy.
Chivas draw heavily from the Hispanic community for their support, as opposed to the more cosmopolitan audience of the Galaxy, so the atmosphere inside the stadium should be quite thrilling.
Chivas relies on an initial 4-2-3-1 formation, which frequently collapses to a much more defensive 4-5-1, with former Aston Villa hit man Juan Pablo Angel playing the lone striker. The Colombian came over from the Galaxy late in the season last year and he scored an admirable 7 goals in 9 matches.
The crowded midfield is keyed by central presence Nick LaBrocca who has good vision. He managed 8 goals in 34 appearances last year, and supplied Angel with much of his ammunition.
However, outside of those two players, Chivas struggles for offence at times and the team was shut out 12 times in 2011.
The Whitecaps also deploy a 4-2-3-1 foundation, but in this arrangement the emphasis is on the 3 advanced midfielders to serve as attacking support to complement Eric Hassli as the spearhead of the offence. Sebastien Le Toux is the axis of those 3, with the outsides working as old fashioned wingers.
However, Le Toux is also adept at dropping back to provide defensive support.
John Thorrington serves as a defensive minded midfielder, but he is out injured, leaving Jun Marques Davidson and Gershon Koffie to likely continue providing the coverage for the back line, though Matt Watson’s emergence is boosting competition for places here.
This match is very intriguing as it points to a clash of ideologies with regards to how to play the game. If Vancouver can score early, as they did last week, it will force Chivas to throw out their game plan quickly.
The LA suburbanites need a good result in their second week, since they lost 1-0 late on to Houston last week, so that they can try to swing their way some of the southern California spotlight that is firmly trained on the Galaxy.
If the Vancouver back four can shackle Angel effectively, it will drastically reduce the options for Chivas and favour the chances of the ‘Caps.
Look for Vancouver to come out on top in a 2-0 victory.
Check out our 2012 Whitecaps Season preview.