VANCOUVER, BC – After an exciting 2-1 win over the defending MLS Cup champions, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-5L-2D) return to BC Place on Wednesday night for a midweek clash with Eastern Conference side Chicago Fire (1W-2L-4D).
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Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver’s 2-1 win over Portland on Saturday was their most complete performance of the season. Hands down.
The ‘Caps outshot Portland 26-9, controlled 57 per cent of possession, and played some attractive stuff going forward. It was an encouraging showing on many levels. The challenge now will be to try and build off it, or at least maintain their levels, on just four days of rest against Chicago.
"That's the standard we need to set now," head coach Carl Robinson said this week. "I want them to prove that week in, week out."
It will also be interesting to see how much Robinson rotates his lineup with a weekend trip to Toronto FC looming. Does he go with what worked against Portland? Or does he keep some players fresh for the weekend?
One player who will almost certainly be involved at some point is Costa Rican midfielder Christian Bolaños, who has now scored in three consecutive matches.
The ‘Caps are undefeated in five straight matches at BC Place after dropping their season opener.
As it stands, Chicago sit at the bottom of the MLS table with a 1W-2L-4D record.
That doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, though, since they’ve played fewer games than any other team and have lost just one of their last six matches. They’re also coming off a bye week, so they will be the fresher side come Wednesday.
This is Chicago’s first season under head coach Veljko Paunović, a former MLS player who coached his native Serbia to a 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup championship. Interestingly, Paunović made his MLS debut against Vancouver as a member of Philadelphia Union back in 2011.
Christian Bolaños (RW) vs. Michael Harrington (LB): Bolaños has been on a little bit of a tear as of late. His goal against Portland on the weekend was his third in as many games, but his creativity in midfield was even more impressive. The Costa Rican will likely be seeing a lot of Harrington, Chicago’s most experienced defender.
Fraser Aird/Jordan Smith (RB) vs. Kennedy Igboananike (LW): With a team-high three goals, Igboananike has been Chicago’s most dangerous goalscoring threat so far this season. Whoever Robinson calls upon at right back will need to be up to the task against the Nigerian winger.
This will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two clubs.
The ‘Caps have the advantage with a 3W-1L-2D record, including a 1-0 road win last season. They’re also a perfect 2W-0L-0D against the Fire at home.
Should Jordan Harvey appear in Wednesday’s match, the 32-year-old defender will become Vancouver’s new all-time leader in regular season appearances. He’s currently tied with Gershon Koffie at 133.
Kekuta Manneh will be available for selection on Wednesday after serving his one-match suspension. Octavio Rivero, meanwhile, will be suspended with his next yellow card due to caution accumulation. Should he go two more matches without receiving a card or supplemental discipline, he will have one caution removed from his total and no longer be on suspension warning.