Preview - March 17

Painting the Picture presented by Benjamin Moore: 'Caps aim for best-ever start Saturday in Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC have yet to start an MLS season with three straight wins. But that will be the goal on Saturday, when they visit Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after a pair of 2-1 results over Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo.

KICKOFF: 4:30 p.m. PT  |  TV: TSN 2  | RADIO: TSN 1040

The match will also be broadcast internationally on Abu Dhabi TV, FOX Africa, beIN AUS, FOX Asia, Globo, FOX LATAM, China Sports Media, Sportcast, and SKY Sports. 

Here are the key storylines to watch.

STORYLINES

First-timers: This will be Vancouver’s first-ever visit to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which played host to an MLS record 72,035 fans in Atlanta’s a 3-1 win over DC United last weekend.

Big man: Atlanta had no answer for Kendall Waston in last year’s meeting between the two teams – a 3-1 win for Vancouver at BC Place. The ‘Caps captain scored two goals and was influential in another. Can he exert his dominance again on Saturday?

Possession vs. counter: Atlanta was the best possession team in MLS last season with an average of 57.76 per cent of possession per match. The ‘Caps, on the other hand, have enjoyed a lot of success on the road with very little possession partly due to their lethal counter-attack, which should make for an intriguing battle of contrasting styles.

KEY MATCHUP

Efrain Juarez (M) vs. Miguel Almiron (M): On his day, Almiron is one of the best attacking midfielders in MLS. There’s a reason English Premier League sides have been chasing him. The 24-year-old Paraguayan international had a goal and an assist while playing on the left side of Atlanta’s three-man central midfield last weekend. On Saturday, he’ll likely be seeing a lot of Juarez, who has been playing on the right side of Vancouver’s central midfield. The 30-year-old Mexican leads Vancouver with eight tackles this season.

QUOTABLE

“Determination, mentality, the will and desire to never give up. You need a little bit of luck along the way, but you can’t get lucky for three years.” – Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson on why the ‘Caps have been the best road team in the Western Conference since the start of 2015.