Vancouver Whitecaps FC will attempt to keep up their recent run of good form while shooting for a third straight road win when they visit the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night. The Caps have been cruising of late, going unbeaten in their last six games (3w-3d) which includes two straight road wins, beginning in Columbus and followed up by last Sunday’s galvanizing 4-3 victory against Portland. Picking up points on the road is imperative in order to keep pace in the ultra competitive Western Conference standings where Whitecaps FC currently occupies fourth spot on the strength of 20 points through 12 games played (5W-2L-5D). After struggling away from home through their first three seasons of MLS play Coach Carl Robinson thinks the club is now making strides as the visitors. “I think we’ve got two positive results the last two away games which has been very positive for the guy’s and a confidence builder for them cause it shows that we can do it and obviously the way we’ve played away from home has been more enjoyable for me. There’s encouraging signs, we’ve still got a long way to go we’re working hard every day but we’re going in the right direction slowly.”
One concern for Whitecaps FC this weekend is to ensure they try and maintain some of the recent urgency they’ve displayed over the last two consecutive weeks with ultra intense games against Pacific Northwest Cascadia Rivals Seattle Sounders FC (2-2 draw) followed by a big (4-3 decision) on the road in hostile territory against the Portland Timbers. The challenge for the Caps will be to try and avoid a natural letdown facing a Philadelphia Union squad that has struggled to start the season, sitting in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference standings with three wins thru 15 contests and an overall record of (3W-7L-5D). Caps captain Jay DeMerit on avoiding a trap game. “We’re business as usual, we’ve got to make sure we go in and prepare like we do any game especially away from home. We have a lot of travel this week so you know all those types of things are factors but factors that we’re more than willing to take because we know we have a good break after it so I think we’ll prepare right and end it on a good note.”
Whitecaps FC would especially like to collect three points on Saturday night leading into a two and a half week break between games in the schedule. As DeMerit referenced they’d like to go into that break on a positive note. Speaking of positives, young Caps striker Erik Hurtado is on a hot streak having scored in four straight competitions and is expected to get another start up front. Coach Robinson has started the same lineup in two consecutive impressive showings and is not expected to alter his starting eleven on Saturday night. That said speedy striker Darren Mattocks has recovered from a hamstring injury and is available to play, he’ll likely see time off the bench.
Kickoff on Saturday night goes just after 4 o’clock pm PT.