Whitecaps vs TFC Matchup Insight
Game three of the Vancouver Whitecaps current road swing takes the busy crew to the centre of the universe Wednesday to face The Reds in Ta-ronta. National rivalries are always fun to watch for the fans and it also puts a great deal of pride on the line for the players too.
This game should have a little extra energy and edge for a mid-season game under the hot sun.
As everyone is likely aware if you follow the MLS closely, it has been a tumultuous season for The Reds.
Aspirations were high coming into the season under the leadership of Aron Winter, an ex-Dutch national team member, who planned to develop the team into a possession side akin to the Netherlands prototype.
However, the team struggled to cope with the demands of the system.
The talent level required for that high level was not uniform throughout the squad, and a playing style of that manner demands high skills.
Winter left and has been replaced by Paul Mariner, an ex-England international who brings energy and passion to the game. He has emphasized more of a direct attack, removing some of the tendencies to overpass laterally.
Toronto’s play has improved, thanks mainly to the inspirational front play and scoring of Dutchman Danny Koevermans. After nine straight losses to open the regular MLS season, there have been two wins and four ties in TFC’s past eight contests.
Vancouver has performed well on the current four game road trip, with a win and a tie in their first two matches to maintain their solid position in the playoff picture.
Tuesday’s training provided further focus on building chemistry in the midfield. Barry Robson played frequently with Davide Chiumiento among others to increase familiarity with one another and their games.
Darren Mattocks is expected back from his latest suspension, after accumulating five yellow cards this season already.
His petulance and immaturity at times has been the only knock on a terrific rookie campaign.
His speed and finish have contributed to limiting the playing time of Eric Hassli.
The ‘Caps are likely to betray some signs of weariness for this contest with a third game in eight days, leaving them ripe for a fall. But the Canadian rivalry will probably be enough to inspire a fair result.
Look for Vancouver to manage an exciting 2-2 draw.