VANCOUVER, BC – It’s a battle between two of the hottest teams in MLS on Saturday afternoon at BC Place, as Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC continue their homestand against Columbus Crew SC. TICKETS: http://ow.ly/bJrD30f9W2Q.
KICKOFF: 4 p.m. PT | TV: TSN 2 | RADIO: TSN 1410
- Legends & Stars: Don't miss out on Saturday's charity alumni match!
Here are the key storylines to watch.
HUNTERS BECOME THE HUNTED
For the first time this season, the ‘Caps sit atop the Western Conference.
It’s been a steady climb up the table for Vancouver, who leapfrogged Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders FC into the top spot with a 3-0 win over Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BC Place. Now, the question is: can they stay there?
BATTLE OF THE UNBEATEN
Both Vancouver and Columbus enter Saturday’s contest unbeaten in five matches.
The two clubs, in fact, have followed similar paths in recent years. New coach in 2014, highly successful 2015, disappointing 2016, and now a bounce-back 2017.
Something's got to give.
This will be the first matchup between Vancouver and Columbus since the early season trade that saw Crew SC send central midfielder Tony Tchani and $300,000 to the West Coast in exchange for winger/forward Kekuta Manneh.
Tchani and Manneh have very similar numbers for their new teams thus far.
Tchani, who has started 20 of Vancouver’s last 21 matches, has three goals and one assist from a deep-lying midfield position, while Manneh has three goals and two assists.
“I thought long and hard about it with Kekuta,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “I’ve got a great relationship with the boy, I still speak to him, and I hope he does well, except obviously in this game. He needed a change. We needed a change because we had Alphonso Davies who was ready to play more minutes, we had the Bug who was flying at the time, and I needed a central midfield player, which is why the trade happened.”