After earning their 3rd road victory of 2015 the Vancouver Whitecaps return home to face one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. DC United rolls into town having lost just once over the course of their last 6 matches.
Vancouver will be boosted by the return of Pedro Morales who missed the away match in Utah due to a red card suspension. Not only will the Chilean maestro return but Carl Robinson will also likely give his latest signing, Uruguayan winger Cristian Techera, a chance to endear himself to the home fans. It is very unlikely that Techera will start but the affectionately named “Bug” could sub in late in the match.
The Whitecaps are proving to be the surprise of the season so far as they continue to own top spot in the Supporters’ Shield standings. If DC United hopes to earn a positive result north of the border then they will need to shut down the fastest counterattack in the league. This will be no easy task as the likes of Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks and Octavio Rivero will pounce on any opening in the DCU defense.
The weakness of Vancouver is their defense. Despite earning 4 clean sheets and allowing 7 goals, 3 of which came in their opening match of the season, the Whitecaps back line is prone to making silly errors. Too many times this season Pa-Modou Kah has sent a wayward pass into no-mans-land which resulted in a chance for the opposition. It was because of this kind of mistake that the Columbus Crew were able to come away with a 2-2 draw only a few weeks ago. DC United will look to pressure high up the pitch in the hope of capitalizing on a similar opportunity. In doing so, this will create openings for Morales to send in a sprinting Mattocks or Rivero.
Fabian Espindola will return to the pitch for DC United after serving a 6 game suspension due to an incident which occurred post-match during their playoff tilt last season against the New York Red Bulls. While he may not be match fit to get the start for United, he could prove to be a danger from the bench.
The Whitecaps will soon be very busy as they juggle both MLS and the upcoming Voyageurs Cup. This will undoubtedly force Robinson to make some tough roster decisions but luckily he has a deep roster. This busy spring will mean that tired legs could cost valuable MLS points. As a result, a victory over DC United at home is a must and would be another example to this young team that they can play and win against some of the league’s best.