KANSAS CITY, KS – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-3L-1D) look to close the gap on Western Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City (4W-1L-2D) this Friday at Children’s Mercy Park.
KICKOFF: 6 p.m. PT | TV: TSN2 | RADIO: TSN 1040
Here are the key storylines to watch.
Best of the West: A win on Friday would move Vancouver to within one point of Sporting Kansas City, who sit atop the Western Conference with 14 points. The ‘Caps are currently third in the West with 10 points from seven matches.
No mercy: In last year’s visit to Children’s Mercy Park, the ‘Caps earned a 1-0 victory and snapped Sporting KC’s 24-match home unbeaten run. Stefan Marinovic stole the show with two world-class saves and seven in total, while Erik Hurtado provided the scoring with a classy, volleyed finish. Can Carl Robinson’s men make it back-to-back results in Blue Hell?
Opportunity knocks: With Kei Kamara (adductor strain) sidelined for what is expected to be at least three more matches, one player that could come into the equation for Whitecaps FC is Anthony Blondell. The 23-year-old striker, who was described this week by Robinson as a “raw” and “exciting” talent, led the Venezuelan league in scoring last season and scored three goals for Vancouver during the preseason.
Brek Shea (LW) vs. Graham Zusi (RW): Brek Shea has become Vancouver’s “road warrior,” scoring in three of the club’s four matches this season. In fact, six of his seven goals for Whitecaps FC in MLS play have come away from home. On Friday, he’ll likely be matched up against Graham Zusi, who leads SKC in chances created, touches, and has a pair of goals on the season. Shea and Zusi have played many games together for the U.S. national team so will certainly be aware of each other’s tendencies, which only adds another layer of intrigue to this matchup.
“I do not have a group of players that wants to hide. They want to come out, they want to play, and they want to prove people wrong.” – Carl Robinson