New York Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Wednesday 17:00PST/20:00EST Red Bull Arena – Harrison, New Jersey.
Although this is technically an international fixture, New York Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps will have a bit of a preseason friendly feel to it. After all, both teams compete against each other regularly in Major League Soccer. But, while the New York Red Bulls represent the United States by having won the Supporters’ Shield in the 2015 MLS season (the trophy is given to the club with the most points during the regular season) the Vancouver Whitecaps represent Canada as national champions.
Lack of a Canadian national league means that Canada determines its national champion and representative to the CONCACAF Champions League, by holding a yearly tournament that includes Canada’s five professional football clubs—the Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, Toronto FC, FC Edmonton, and Ottawa Fury. The Whitecaps won the tournament in 2015 after beating Montreal Impact 4-2 on aggregate (2-2 and 2-0).
The two matches will actually take place before the start of the Major League Soccer regular season. Vancouver kick starts its regular on Sunday March 5 at home against Philadelphia Union. New York, meanwhile, will travel to Atlanta for the home opener of Major League Soccer’s latest franchise, Atlanta United.
In light of this, it will be interesting how the head coaches of New York, and Vancouver will handle the two matches. Will they field the first team lineup, or will they use this game as a preseason friendly in which they can test players under difficult conditions.
One thing is for certain, Vancouver head coach, Carl Robinson, will be traveling to New York without several key players. Newly acquired Fredy Montero, and Yordy Reyna will not be available for the match. Vancouver will also be without midfielders Christian Bolaños, and Nicolás Mezquida.
New York’s head coach Jesse Marsch, in the meantime, will be without Tyler Adam, but can expect Alex Muyl, and Mike Grella along with defender Damien Perrinelle to be match fit against Vancouver on Wednesday night.
Tickets should still be available for those who want to attend what could be one of the most important games—at least on paper—for either club this season. Midweek CONCACAF Champions League games have so far struggled to receive the attention that the competition deserves.
NY Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Player to look out for:
New York Red Bulls are, of course, best known for their relationship with other Red Bull franchises around the world. The rise of RB Leipzig in Germany has now meant that New York Red Bulls have concentrated their focus on developing young players that one day could make an impact in the Bundesliga. That said, NYRB have also some experienced players in their squad. One of those players is United States national team midfielder, Sacha Kljestan. Kljestan spent five seasons with RSC Anderlecht in Belgium, and his experience will be invaluable in New York’s tie against Vancouver.
Wunderkind Alphonso Davies could be given the start in the match against New York. The 16-year-old is perhaps the biggest talent ever developed by the Vancouver Whitecaps organization. Although still inexperienced, the injuries to Vancouver mean that Davies will certainly receive some game time against New York. Davies actually scored his first professional goal in this competition when he netted the last minute 2-1 winner against Sporting Kansas City on matchday 3. A quick and talented prospect, Alphonso Davies has the potential to become Canada’s first major football star.
New York Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps – Match Stats
- The Whitecaps are one of only two teams to have won every game in this year’s competition—the other team is Árabe Unido.
- New York Red Bulls were ranked eight, or last, after the group stage after managing to advance with just eight points, and five goals scored in the group stage.
- New York Red Bulls won two out of the three encounters against Vancouver last season (W2 L1).
Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1
New York Red Bulls
Robles – Zizzo, Collin, Perrinelle, Murillo – Martins, Kljestan, Etienne – Royer, Wright-Philips, Muyl
Coach: Jesse Marsch
Ousted – Harvey, Parker, Waston, Williams – Flores, Laba, McKendry – Davies, Barnes, Techera
Coach: Carl Robinson