Team Portland

After defeating Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers in a memorable come-from-behind away victory on Wednesday night, Vancouver Whitecaps FC vaulted themselves into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference in seventh place, massively boosting their chances at clinching the club’s first post-season berth since 2017.

Since mid-July, the ‘Caps have posted a record of 9W-2L-7D for a total of 34 points and an average of 1.19 points-per-game, which is the best run of form in the West in that span and second in MLS.

The run also saw the club go on a 10-game unbeaten streak between mid-July and early-September as well as a four-game unbeaten streak between mid-September and early-October.

In this piece, we break down all the best numbers for the ‘Caps so far this season as the quest for a spot in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs heats up.

Only Western Conference team to lose only twice in their last 18 games

Since July 17, over three months and 18 matches, the ‘Caps have made it difficult for opposing teams to break them down with their defensive stability while also conjuring up a dynamic offensive style, losing only twice and recording the fewest defeats in the Western Conference in that span.

Only Supporter’s Shield front runners New England Revolution have recorded one fewer loss and more points than the ‘Caps in that span.

During this run, the ‘Caps have also scored 28 goals and conceded 18 times, keeping five clean sheets in the process.

Fourth best road record in Western Conference in last 10 matches

If teams are to make the playoffs by the end of the MLS regular season, it’s essential that they are able to grab points on the road and that’s exactly what the ‘Caps have been doing.

Over their last 10 road matches, the 'Caps have tallied the fourth best road record during that span in the Western Conference with a 2W-1L-7D record (13 points).

During the run, the team has scored 14 goals and has only failed to score twice, both occasions coming in 0-0 draws.

With their penultimate road game of the season on the horizon, the 'Caps will be looking to continue their road form in their race to solidify a post-season berth.

Averaging 2 goals per game at BC Place

In seven home games at BC Place, the 'Caps have won six times.

On average the ‘Caps have been scoring 2 goals per game at home, which puts them in a four-way tie for first in the Western Conference alongside Sporting KC, Portland Timbers and Los Angeles FC.

In addition, the ‘Caps have registered a total of 10.69 expected goals in their seven games at BC Place so far this season, which averages to about 1.53 expected goals per game.

The ‘Caps have also come from behind to win twice in two of those seven matches at BC Place, winning both matches by a score of 2-1.

It’s safe to say BC Place is quickly becoming a fortress for the ‘Caps and could turn into a massive advantage in the final home matches of the season to help claim a playoff spot.

Most points gained from losing positions in MLS

Speaking of coming back in games, the ‘Caps have come back from losing positions to capture points 11 times this season, securing five wins and six draws.

Memorable comeback results this season have come against LA Galaxy (2-1 W, 1-1 D), the first match back at BC Place vs. LAFC (2-1 W), at Seattle Sounders FC (2-2 D), at Portland Timbers (3-2 W), as well as away and home games against Austin FC (both 2-1 W).

A big part of the comeback ‘Caps this season has been young Colombian winger Déiber Caicedo, with eight of his twelve goal contributions this season coming in matches where the 'Caps have come back to secure points (3 G, 5 A).

The 21-year-old was named to the Week 31 MLS Team of the Week for once again playing a crucial role in another 'Caps comeback on Wednesday night, where he tallied a goal and an assist.

Caicedo was also named to MLS' annual 22 Under 22 list at the start of the month and leads the 'Caps in assists this season with seven.

Undefeated when scoring first in a match this season

While the ‘Caps have been able to show their comeback mentality this season, the squad has also been able capture points when scoring first.

The Blue and White are undefeated when scoring first, tallying a 6W-0L-2D record to rank them third in MLS.

When leading at halftime, the team is also undefeated, posting a 4W-0L-2D record.

One goal conceded per match

As good as the ‘Caps have been offensively, they’ve also established themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the West, conceding only a goal per match over the past 18 matches.

The 'Caps have only conceded more than one goal during the run four times, with only one of those resulting in a loss.

Over the course of the full season, they've conceded 1.4 goals per match to put themselves fifth least amongst teams in the West.

Individual player statistics

Throughout the season, the ‘Caps have had plenty of key difference-makers at both ends of the field.

In terms of statistics, attackers Déiber Caicedo, Cristian Dájome, Brian White and Ryan Gauld have been a big threat going forward for the ‘Caps, rookie fullback/wing back Javain Brown has quietly become one of the league’s best tacklers in his position, while keeper Max Crépeau continues to be one of the best in the league.

Caicedo currently ranks seventh in the league in big chances created with 10 and is fourth in the West for successful dribbles per match with 1.8.

Meanwhile, Dájome leads the team in several categories, including chances created (38), expected assists (3.68) and duels won (195).

Up top, White currently sits 10th in MLS and sixth in the West in expected goals with 9.19, while also sitting fourth in the league in game-winning goals with four. The New Jersey product has also been involved in nine of the club’s last 11 goals and has become only the fourth player in the ‘Caps MLS history to score 11 or more goals during a single MLS season.

As for Gauld, the Scottish playmaker is averaging 2.6 key passes per game to put him second in the West in the category, only Minnesota United’s Emanuel Reynoso has more with 3.4. The attacking midfielder sits fifth in MLS in the category, while also ranking in the top 98 percentile in players in his position for most non-penalty expected goals and expected assists.

At the back, Brown has shown his defensive prowess by ranking fourth in the West in successful tackles per match with 1.7.

Goalkeeper Crépeau has had one of his finest seasons in MLS, recording the seventh best goals against average in the league amongst keepers with more than 20 games and also registered the fourth longest shutout streak of the season from September 19 to October 17 at 375 minutes. The Canadian international also has the fifth best saving percentage in the league at 75.5 amongst keepers with more than 20 games.

As shown by all the previous statistics though, it really has been a full team-effort by the ‘Caps to put themselves in contention for a playoff spot and become one of the toughest teams to play against in the entirety of MLS.

The ‘Caps will look to continue their fine form in another crucial Western Conference match-up this Saturday, October 23 against San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT. You can catch the match live on TSN1 and 980 CKNW, with the radio pre-game show starting at 5 p.m. PT.