As far as regular season games in August go, they don’t get much bigger than this.
Forgive us if we say the same thing next week.
Two of the top teams in the Western Conference go head-to-head on Saturday night when Vancouver Whitecaps FC (13W-8L-3D) visit Sporting Kansas City (10W-4L-7D) at Sporting Park.
The West-leading ‘Caps are in search of their fourth straight league win, while Sporting Kansas City are hoping to maintain their home unbeaten streak in a match that could have major implications on the Western Conference playoff race.
Can the streak-busters do it again?
Match Day: Saturday, August 15
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Venue: Sporting Park, Kansas City
Radio: TSN 1410
So far, so good for Whitecaps FC in the month of August.
The ‘Caps are at the midway point of their jam-packed schedule this month, and they remain unbeaten with a 2W-0L-2D record in all competitions.
In league play, Whitecaps FC have won three straight matches – outscoring their opponents 10-1 in the process. They’ve only won four games in a row once in the MLS era and that came early this season.
With an eye towards Saturday’s match, Carl Robinson rested eight starters from last weekend’s 4-0 win over RSL in Vancouver’s midweek Amway Canadian Championship draw with Montreal Impact. The only players who started both matches were Jordan Harvey, Matias Laba and Kendall Waston.
Waston won’t be in action on Saturday, as he is suspended due to caution accumulation. And Laba is a question mark as well after picking up a knock against Montreal.
The only team averaging more points per game than Vancouver in the Western Conference is fourth-place SKC, who trail the ‘Caps by five points but have three games in hand. They’re also the only team that remains unbeaten at home this season (7W-0L-4D).
Suffice to say, the ‘Caps are in for a big test.
The player to watch here is attacking midfielder Benny Feilhaber, who is considered by many to be a league MVP candidate. The Brazilian-born American is tied for the MLS-lead with 12 assists and he has eight goals to boot.
However, Feilhaber played 90 minutes in SKC’s midweek U.S. Open Cup semifinal win over RSL – as did the likes of Dom Dwyer and Matt Besler. So Peter Vermes will have some tough decisions to make for Saturday’s contest.
This will be the second and final meeting between Vancouver and SKC this season – barring a playoff date, that is.
The first meeting was an entertaining and physical battle that ended in a 1-0 victory for SKC at BC Place.
Vancouver’s all-time MLS record against SKC is 1W-3L-2D.
The ‘Caps need just one more win to set a new franchise record for wins (14) in the MLS era.