Vancouver Whitecaps FC have already defeated the 2014 MLS Cup champions this season – twice.
Can they beat the runners-up, too?
We’ll find out on Saturday, when Whitecaps FC (9W-6L-2D) visit New England Revolution (6W-6L-6D) in their fourth of five straight matches on the road.
Match Day: Saturday, June 27
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m.
Venue: Gillette Stadium, New England
Radio: TSN 1410
Since starting their five-match road trip with a 2-1 loss to Montreal Impact, the ‘Caps have now picked up back-to-back victories – most recently, a 2-1 thriller over New York Red Bulls in which David Ousted saved two PKs and Kianz Froese scored his first MLS goal.
That gives Whitecaps FC five road wins on the season, which is already a new club record in MLS.
If they’re going to make it six on Saturday, they’ll have to do so without centre back Kendall Waston and midfielder Gershon Koffie. Both players are suspended due to caution accumulation. To this point, Waston had played every minute of every minute in league play this season.
The status of Pedro Morales, who missed the New York match with a calf injury, is also up in the air.
“He trained today for the first time fully,” Robinson said Wednesday. “There’s a chance he could be available for the weekend. He hadn’t trained properly since last Tuesday. And he wasn’t quite right for [New York]. We’re getting him moving. Today, he got through it so we’ll see how he is later. There’s a possibility he could be involved in the 18 on Saturday.”
On the other hand, striker Darren Mattocks is expected to be available after returning from international duty with Jamaica at the 2015 Copa America.
The ‘Caps are currently tied for the top spot in the Western Conference with 29 points from 17 matches.
The defending 2014 MLS Cup finalists have been struggling as of late, winning just one of their last nine fixtures. Their most recent result was a 2-1 midweek loss to Columbus Crew.
However, the Revs remain second in the Eastern Conference and undefeated at home this season.
Suffice to say, the ‘Caps won’t be taking them lightly.
“They’re a very good team, they’re very physical, and they’re very strong at home,” Robinson told reporters this week. “They’ve had one or two indifferent results recently, but that’s the way the league is. Their front three of [Teal] Bunbury, [Charlie] Davies, and [Juan] Agudelo with Lee Nguyen and [Diego] Fagundez underneath is arguably one of the strongest in MLS.”
Another player who usually plays underneath is U.S. men’s national team midfielder Jermaine Jones, but the Designated Player is out with a bilateral sports hernia.
This will be the sixth all-time meeting between Vancouver and New England in MLS.
The Revs have a slight edge with a 2W-1L-2D record, though Whitecaps FC are undefeated in their last two encounters (1W-0L-1D).
The ‘Caps have yet to win a game at Gillette Stadium.
Promising 20-year-old Kekuta Manneh has now scored in back-to-back games for the ‘Caps. Can he make it three for three on Saturday? If so, it would be the first time he has scored in three straight games since entering the league in 2013.
Should left back Jordan Harvey feature on Saturday, it would be his 200th MLS regular season game.
There are three former Whitecaps FC players on New England’s roster: goalkeeper Brad Knighton and midfielders Daigo Kobayashi and Lee Nguyen. Former Whitecaps FC director of soccer operations Tommy Soehn is also an assistant coach with the Revs.