Like the Quakes, Vancouver lost their first game. Unlike the Quakes, Vancouver has earned points in every match since that defeat whereas the Quakes have lost their previous two games. Vancouver also made the playoffs last year. They are currently in first place.* They are currently ranked #1 in MLS power rankings. They are the real deal, so it should be a great game on Saturday and a great test for the Quakes.
The Quakes will have to work hard to earn their points at home. Current front-runner for MLS MVP is Uruguayan forward Octavio Rivero, who has five goals in six games. Vancouver’s Pedro Morales is tied for second in the league in assists with three total. Last game, midfielder Darren Mattocks had one of the best performances of his career game: one goal, one assist, seven shots, two scoring chances created, 90%(!!) passing efficiency, 100% aerial duels won (2 for 2), and 100% tackles won (3 for 3). And these are not their best players! Designated Players Pedro Morales and Mattias Laba are expected to play in the midfield, along with F/M Kakuta Manneh who has 16 shots, one goal, and one assist this season. Overall, the Caps score an average of 1.5 goals/game, one of the top teams in the league!
Defensively, the Caps have excellent defenders in Kendall Waston (yes, Waston), local Quakes fave Steven Beitashour, and GK David Ousted (these three players are the only ones to play every minute this season for Vancouver). They have “Goals Against Average” of just 1 goal conceded per game.
What to Expect
According to MLSSoccer, the Quakes will have Wynne back, along with Renato. This is a huge boon to our defense. However, the Quakes will be playing without Innocent, as MLS retroactively suspended him for Saturday’s match due to a foul which they deemed should have been a red-card offense. This makes things interesting for Dom Kinnear.
With no Innocent, and last game’s spectacular failure with Wondo playing at MGP’s left, I am guessing Dom will go back to the 4-2-3-1 to have more players back on defense: Cato, Goodson, Bernardez, and Wynne on the back line, although if Wynne isn’t healthy enough to start, look for Renato to fill the void. I think Alashe and Koval will start as DMs. I expect Shea to start in place of Innocent with Nyassi and MPG as the other midfielders, and Wondo at forward.
Bench Players: Meredith (GK), Pierazzi (DM), Harden (D), Barrera (M), Stephenson (M), Fucito (F), Jahn (F)
According to MLSSoccer.com, the following Quakes are out:
- Sherrod (F)
- Lenny (F)
- Stewart (D)
- Francis (D)
Final Score Prediction
Conventional wisdom says Vancouver will roll over the Quakes 3-0. I am going out on a limb (as I always do!) and saying the Quakes will WIN 2-1. Why? Because our defense is almost back to normal, the Caps just played a tough 2-2 draw with Columbus and may be taking their foot off the throttle against a lowly Quakes team, their wins haven’t been that impressive, and I think our offense can do well enough to score twice against Vancouver, as Columbus (well, Kei Kamara) did on Wednesday.
See you Saturday, and let me be one of the first to say WELCOME HOME, BEITA!!!
*All stats are at the time of publication!