PREVIEW- The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to improve upon their opening match loss against Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening, as they take on San Jose Earthquakes away from home at PayPal Park. With a midweek game to consider for Head Coach Vanni Sartini, there might be some changes in the Whitecaps’ predicted lineup.
Vancouver Whitecaps Predicted Lineup vs San Jose in Redemption Match
How The Whitecaps Have Lined-Up Recently
The Whitecaps’ opening day lineup had a surprise omission, as Javain Brown started at right-back ahead of new signing Mathias Laborda, who watched on from the bench. As well, Cristian Dajome began behind Brian White at center-forward in place of late-season star Pedro Vite, after his impressive pre-season displays. The lone new-signing debutant to start the match was Japanese goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka, who impressed on his debut making five saves.
The midfield three of Alessandro Schopf, Julian Gressel, and Andres Cubas proved to be an effective trio in the first game, and will likely be the starting three of that sector moving forward. Luis Martins had a mixed game at left-back and might be looking over his shoulder at the plethora of left-back options that Sartini has available to him. The same can be said of Brian White, whose goal drought now extends to five games. Sergio Cordova will be looking to usurp his American teammate in the starting lineup as soon as he is able.
When asked if there will be lineup changes at Thursday’s press conference, Sartini’s reply was uncertain: “Maybe, maybe yes. There will always be lineup changes.”
“At the moment, we have a really high-quality roster, and that allows us also to think about making some tweaks every game. We’ll see… we haven’t taken our final decision yet”.
Our 𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙓𝙄 vs @realsaltlake
Takaoka makes his official @MLS debut
Dájome, Gauld & White in the front three
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) February 26, 2023
Recent Form & Tactics
The opening 60 minutes of the first game for the Whitecaps showed the quality that many fans had rarely seen before. Sartini’s decision to play a midfield three at the beginning of this season proved to be a fantastic move. That midfield gave them more structure and dominance over the ball and allowed the defence to break through the lines and feed the ball to the forward line. Brian White did well to hold up the play but struggled once more in front of the net. The ‘Caps will be rueing those missed opportunities that they had in the first half and will look to be more clinical in this second match.
In the press conference on Thursday, Sartini emphasized his team’s need to structure and composure, stating that “we need to be compact, and we need to be very patient when we have the ball.”
Patience with the ball was something that the ‘Caps were lacking in their second half against RSL, consistently clearing it to no one and allowing RSL to quickly come back on the attack. Sartini will need to make sure that the XI he chooses will stay on top of that and not allow San Jose’s dangerous players, Cristian Espinoza, and Cade Cowell, to take advantage and wreak havoc.
“We need to exploit our possession in a way that we don’t have to be unbalanced, in case we lose the ball because they are very good in transition”.
— GameFlow (@GameFlowxPG) February 26, 2023
Whitecaps Injuries to Consider
Whitecaps’ player availability mirrors the one they had in their opening day match, as Cristian Gutierrez misses out due to IT band tightness, while Deiber Caicedo misses out as he reaches the end of his long road to recovery from a meniscus surgery.
LWOS spoke to Caicedo this week and learned that while he has returned to first-team training, he will be at least another two or three weeks before he is expected to be called upon once more.
Caicedo is back to full team training
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) March 1, 2023
Whitecaps Predicted Line-up
GK – Yohei Takaoka
RB – Mathias Laborda
CB – Tristan Blackmon
CB – Ranko Vesilinovic
LB – Ryan Raposo
DM – Andres Cubas
CM – Julian Gressel
CM – Alessandro Schopf
CF – Ryan Gauld
CF – Pedro Vite
ST – Cristian Dajome
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports on February 25, 2023, of Yohei Takaoka’s Headshot
The post Vancouver Whitecaps Predicted Lineup vs San Jose – Shuffling The Pack appeared first on Last Word On Soccer.