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Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

News and notes: Lineup decisions aplenty for 'Caps this weekend

VANCOUVER, BC – Carl Robinson said last week that he’d love nothing more than to start the same starting XI for a run of games.

Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

The ‘Caps head coach will be forced to make at least two changes on Saturday against Minnesota United FC (11 a.m. PT on CTV, TSN1, and TSN 1040) with Cristian Techera suspended and Jordon Mutch sidelined with an injury to his right hamstring. Robinson said there is no timeline on Mutch’s injury but the Crystal Palace FC loanee has yet to hit the training pitch this week.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a period of time,” Robinson said. “I’m not sure how long yet. Disappointed for Mutchy because I thought he started the game [last week] and played very, very well. You got to see glimpses of what he’s about. It’s another injury so we’re going to have to regroup a little bit.”

Mutch joins striker Kei Kamara on Vancouver’s injury list; however, Kamara appears to be inching closer to a return after stepping up his training this week. The 33-year-old, who has three goals and two assists in five appearances this season, has missed three straight matches with an adductor strain. Initially, next week's home match against Houston Dynamo was being targeted for Kamara's return. 

“I think he’s probably a week or two away,” Robinson said on Monday. “I’ll be pushing the physios. The physios will obviously be pushing him back a little bit. But he’s desperate to play. And we’re desperate to have him. He’s been a big loss for us in the period he’s missed.”

Anthony Blondell has started consecutive matches in Kamara’s absence, and the 23-year-old Venezuelan scored his first MLS goal in his first start at BC Place last week against RSL.

“I thought Anthony was exceptional on Friday night,” he continued. “Full of energy, full of movement, exuberance, sometimes makes wrong decisions as young players do, gets his goal, and could have had another two or three goals if he sorted his feet out in the first half. We need different options and he’s certainly a different option to Kei.”

The ‘Caps also have different options at fullback, as we saw last week when Canadian Brett Levis and veteran American Sean Franklin got their first starts of the season in a 2-0 win over RSL. Both players “did very well,” Robinson said, which gives him some interesting decisions to make heading into the weekend.

Midfielders Efrain Juarez and Yordy Reyna are also eligible for selection after serving their respective one-match suspensions.