PREVIEW – The Vancouver Whitecaps didn’t have the best of starts to the season last Saturday, losing 2-1 to Real Salt Lake in front of 20,000 at BC Place. This time around, however, they are on the road to San Jose, hoping to bounce back from that loss and gain some form and momentum early on.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes – A Game to Bounce Back
Vancouver Whitecaps’ Current Run of Form
Javain Brown heads it in from Gressel’s corner to give the ‘Caps the lead! LET’S GO!
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) February 26, 2023
The Whitecaps did not start the season as many had wanted them to, losing 2-1 to Real Salt Lake at home. They did show many positives in the game, however, especially in the first half. The ‘Caps dominated possession, had a fantastic passing play, progressed the ball well, and were organized at the back. They only lacked their finishing touch with many opportunities gone begging by the likes of Cristian Dajome and Brian White.
With it being their first game of the season, one might be able to chalk it off to early-season rust. But to many Whitecaps fans, there is concern that another bad start might spell another bleak season for a squad that is brimming with quality. Despite the loss, the Whitecaps can build on that incredible performance and try to replicate that in this second match away from home. Whether it can be sustainable in actuality, is a different matter.
San Jose Earthquakes’ Current Run of Form
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 26, 2023
The Whitecaps weren’t the only team to have lost in heartbreak fashion, with San Jose losing their first MLS game to two late injury-time goals courtesy of Atlanta United’s Thiago Almada. Before this, the Quakes had been leading by a lone goal for 90+ minutes.
Like the ‘Caps, San Jose started very well. They went to the intense atmosphere of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, in front of 60,000 fans, and scored the opening goal in the first 12 minutes. A great play between Jeremy Ebobisse and Cristian Espinoza tore Atlanta’s defense open and silenced the crowd.
But then, like the ‘Caps, they seemed to switch off in the second half, they fell back into their shell and tried to hold on to their lead for the rest of the game. The problem is that, against quality like that of Thiago Almada, you can only do that for so long before the dam breaks. In the Quakes’ case, the dam broke twice at the death.
Recent Head-to-Head Results & Stats
The last time these two met was at PayPal Park last September when San Jose came away with a sturdy 2-0 victory against a hapless ‘Caps. Even though the Whitecaps had more possession (52% to SJ’s 48%), and way more shots (15 to SJ’s nine) they couldn’t capitalize on their good opportunities, and lost with nothing to show for it. Remarkably, the xG of that game was 0.69 to San Jose, and 1.39 to Whitecaps, according to Fotmob.
Prior to this match, the Whitecaps had a decent track record against the Quakes, going on a five-match-unbeaten run against them (2W-3D). One of these games included a thrilling 3-3 draw at BC Place last season, where ex-DP striker Lucas Cavallini scored, as well as Ryan Raposo and ex-CB Erik Godoy, in what was his last goal for the club.
Match Prediction for Whitecaps vs San Jose
Given how both teams suffered from bright starts but lacklustre finishes, this match-up might be hard to call. It might be a test of who can stay concentrated throughout, who makes more mistakes, and who capitalizes on those mistakes. In other words, a game of fine margins.
However, in terms of performance in their opening match, Vancouver seemed to have been better when they were on top than San Jose was. They had more shots, shots on target, progressive passes, and xG. If the Whitecaps can replicate some of that play in this upcoming match, then they can most likely come out of this match with a point, if not a win.
You can catch all the action of this game and all other MLS games this season on MLS Season Pass, exclusively on Apple TV+. The match kicks off at 7:30pm PST/ 10:30pm EST.
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports on February 25, 2023 of Alessandro Schopf’s Headshot.
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