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Three big questions on the Vancouver Whitecaps

Eight Six Forever helps us break down the Whitecaps.

MLS: Vancouver Whitecaps at FC Dallas Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The weekend is here as FC Dallas is in Canada getting ready to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow evening. Today we welcome in Eight Six Forever’s Tyler Dahlin to help break down the Caps ahead of this big Western Conference showdown.

BDS: Outside of last weekend’s loss to Seattle, the Whitecaps had been doing fairly well for themselves in the ladder part of the summer. Were those results because of who they played (San Jose twice, Minnesota, etc) or was the team actually beginning to hit another gear as they turned towards a playoff push? Who was stepping up the most during that run?

ESF: The optimist in me wants to think it was the team coming together and playing excellent soccer, the realist in me thinks it had a lot to do with our competition. We are a very opportunistic club. When teams are disorganized it is easy for the forwards to look. In our Seattle match last week, I hate to say this, but I believe we saw the Caps true colours. A team that is strong in the middle of the park, but that is ultimately wasteful in the final 18 when the defense is staunch. During their strong stretch of matches the reason the Caps were successful is because they front four Alphonso Davies, Kei Kamara, Yordy Reyna and Christian Techera were in sync, on target and finding lots space to operate in.

BDS: A lot has changed between these two sides since they last met in May, catch FC Dallas fans up on who Vancouver brought in this summer and how the team has improved since then. What has Carl Robinson done to help keep this club right in the hunt for a playoff spot?

ESF: In the summer transfer window the Whitecaps brought in Marvin Emnes. He seems to be primarily a winger and sometimes a striker. He was brought in as a last minute free-transfer, and was most recently playing in the Turkish Super League. He hasn’t seen any time on the pitch for the Caps this season (and hasn’t appeared in a professional match since December 2017) so no one is really sure what were getting. Given that Bernie Ibini transferred away from the team, there was a need for depth on the wing and I think Robbo needed a cheap option to fill lowest spot on the depth chart. As for what Robbo has done to keep this team in the playoff hunt, I’d have to say it’s been his commitment to consistency that’s kept us hovering where we are. We’re probably playing the exact same type of football we were during our last encounter with FC Dallas with some minor tweaks to personnell.

BDS: The Whitecap defense has given up their fair share of goals this season, what has been the biggest factor to that? Are fans worried that this group could be their Achilles heel?

ESF: The Defense is a definite concern for the Caps. They can be disorganized and are downright porous at times, and I think that the problem starts at the goal line. Stefan Marinovic seems meek, especially compared to David Ousted (who was an absolute general out there). That leaves the defensive co-ordination to Kendall Waston and Doneil Henry and they can’t always see all the threats on the pitch at all times. This defense can, and certainly has, cost this team points this season.

Lineup projection: Stefan Marinovic, Jake Nerwinski, Kendall Waston, Doniel Henry, Brett Levis, Christian Techera, Aly Ghazal, Russel Teibert, Alphonso Davies, Yordy Reyna, Kei Kamara