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Scouting Report: Are the Vancouver Whitecaps as bad as their record suggests?

FC Dallas looks to extend their unbeaten run to ten games as they head up to Canada.

MLS: FC Dallas at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry, friends. This will probably be a brief review. And not just because I have no emotional investiture with the Vancouver Whitecaps – they’re just a bad team that FC Dallas should beat. After a promising push to the end of last season, the honeymoon has ended for Vanni Sartini and the squad is struggling. The ‘Caps are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference with a record of 2W-6L-2D. As a team, they’ve scored 10 goals in 10 games and let in 20 for the opposition. Not a formula for success.

In regard to players out, Vancouver is suffering from the loss of Maxime Crepeau. As far as players coming into the team, the name to watch for is Andres Cubas, recently acquired from French Ligue 2 side Nimes. He has yet to feature for the Canadians, but they’re counting on him to bring defensive stability to the midfield. He was not in the 20 against San Jose, and honestly, I don’t expect to see him this week. But I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.

Recent Results

Date Home Score Away
Date Home Score Away
4/9 Vancouver 2-3 Portland
4/16 Montreal 2-1 Vancouver
4/23 Austin 3-0 Vancouver
5/8 Vancouver 1-0 Toronto
5/11 - Canadian Cup Vancouver 2-0 Valour
5/14 Vancouver 3-3 San Jose

When the entire squad has only ten goals, it’s not surprising that the two leading scorers - Lucas Cavallini and Ryan Raposo – are tied with two goals each, and they both scored against San Jose. Also, Vancouver is in the midst of playing seven games in 20 days, so a side that is already not at full strength may be forced into further rotations.

Player Notes for Vancouver:

  1. Ryan Gauld: last summer’s star acquisition who led the charge over the last months of the season seems to be struggling with injuries but I’m uncertain what the issue is – all I find is “knocks.” However, the Scotsman’s lack of fitness has contributed to the poor run of form from Brian White as well. Gauld did feature midweek against Valour but didn’t even make the bench against San Jose.
  2. Luis Martins: The recently signed Portuguese left back (he played for Sporting Kansas City a few years back) was on the bench against San Jose, and given that Nerwinski was beaten for one of the Quakes' goals, this may be his chance to debut.
  3. Cody Cropper: With Crepeau off to LAFC, Thomas Hasal was supposed to be the next man up, but given that the team has been hemorrhaging goals Cropper got the start on Saturday.

Line Prediction: 4-2-2-2

Cavallini White
Raposo Dajome
Berhalter Teibert
Nerwinski Jungwirth Godoy Brown
Cropper

I’m going to be honest – I don’t have a good understanding of this formation. Frequently, it looked to me like they dropped into a 4-4-2 defensively against San Jose. Veselinovic has been the primary starter ahead of Godoy but missed the last match. Maybe he’s back? Again, Vancouver’s schedule is congested so the question may be dependent on which matches they prioritize. Look for the primary danger to come up the right side through Brown, Dajome, and Caicedo (when he’s on the field).

Availability:

OUT: Caio Alexandre (left foot, fifth metatarsal surgery), Tristan Blackmon (right knee sprain), Cristián Gutiérrez (left calf tightness), Leonard Owusu (right foot contusion)

Game Time:

9:00 PM – BC Place, Vancouver. If the roof is open, it should be around 60 degrees.