There’s been a lot of talk about Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s improved road form in 2015 – and for good reason. Through six matches away from home, the ‘Caps have come away with three wins while just conceding two goals.
But this will be the true test.
The ‘Caps kick off their season-long five-match road trip on Wednesday, visiting Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo in an Amway Canadian Championship Final preview.
“Good teams are able to grind and dig out results away from home and we’ve done that so far this year, but it can change at the drop of the hat,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters this week. “We know that, but we know we’re a decent team on the road. We’re hard to beat. If we do the small jobs well, we’ve got a chance.”
Match Day: Wednesday, June 3
Kickoff: 5 p.m. PT
Venue: Stade Saputo, Montreal
Radio: TSN 1410
Viewing Party: The Charles Bar
After suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this season, Whitecaps FC bounced back with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday at BC Place. It was a night to remember on several fronts, but now the focus quickly shifts to Montreal.
Robinson said there would be “one or two fresh faces” in the lineup on Wednesday, but the whole team will travel to Montreal and then to LA for Saturday’s fixture with the Galaxy.
“We win together, we lose together, we travel together,” Robinson said.
On the injury front, Robinson said that centre back Diego Rodriguez is “ready to play” after a pair of appearances with WFC2 and would likely be involved in one of the two matches this week. On the other hand, Steven Beitashour is “banged up a little bit” but will be reassessed prior to Wednesday’s match.
The ‘Caps are currently second in the Western Conference with 23 points from 14 matches.
It’s been an interesting start to the season for Montreal.
They’ve struggled a bit in MLS play, claiming just eight points from their first eight matches. After defeating Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas by a combined score of 6-2, their most recent result was a 3-0 loss to Chicago Fire.
On the other hand, the Impact went on a remarkable run to the CONCACAF Champions League Final, where they suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Mexican powerhouse Club America. They also defeated Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal.
So what team will the ‘Caps get on Wednesday?
One thing’s for sure: they’ll get a team that is dealing with a swarm of injuries. The Impact currently have a league-high eight players unavailable, including forwards Dominic Oduro and Kenny Cooper.
In MLS play, Whitecaps FC have yet to lose – or concede a goal – to Montreal in three previous meetings. They’ve posted a 2W-0L-1D record, outscoring the Impact 5-0 in the process. However, last season the ‘Caps were held to a scoreless draw at BC Place.
This will be the first and only meeting between Vancouver and Montreal in MLS play this season. However, the two sides will do battle for the Voyageurs Cup in August’s two-leg Amway Canadian Championship Final.
Should Nigel Reo-Coker play on Wednesday, it will be his first-ever appearance against the ‘Caps. The English Premier League veteran spent a year and a half with Whitecaps FC before getting dealt to Chivas USA in exchange for Mauro Rosales.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him,” Robinson said of Reo-Coker. “I still keep in contact with him. I spoke with him over the weekend. Great guy. Obviously, where he plays will be a question whether he plays right back or centre mid, but he’ll want to beat us no doubt. And we’ll want to beat him.”