Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes – Sunday, October 15, 4:30 Pacific/7:30 Eastern, BC Place – Vancouver, British Columbia.
Here we go just two games left for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who have already secured a home playoff match for the first time in history last weekend despite losing 3-0 to New York Red Bulls. Now they just need three more points to secure one of the two top spots in the Western Conference, which would give them a bye in the first round sending them straight to the Western Conference semifinals.
Four points ahead of the Portland Timbers, their opponent on matchday 34, the Whitecaps now face the San Jose Earthquakes, who are still in the playoff hunt as well. Sitting in the eighth spot with 42 points the Earthquakes are just one point behind sixth-place FC Dallas and on even points with Real Salt Lake. Defeat on Sunday would almost certainly mean elimination for San Jose, but with a victory at BC Place, the Earthquakes would have a realistic shot at making the playoffs.
Although the Earthquakes may have drawn some positives from the Whitecaps poor result in New York, the reality is that Vancouver played a weakened side due to Major League Soccer’s questionable habit of scheduling matches during international breaks. This meant that Vancouver was without captain Kendall Waston, winger Christian Bolaños (both Costa Rica), goalkeeper Stefan Marinović, and midfield star Yordy Reyna (Peru).
All those players will be available to head coach Carl Robinson on Sunday in what will be Vancouver’s last home game of the season. Having the game take place on Sunday, rather than the regular Saturday kickoff, means that the Whitecaps can rest some of the international stars and use the likes of Waston, Marinović and Reyna to get the final three points needed to finish within the top two of the Western Conference.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes – Players to look out for:
Yordy Reyna #29 – Vancouver Whitecaps
Yordy Reyna is back with the Vancouver Whitecaps after a successful international break with his home country Peru. Peru drew both Argentina (0-0) and Colombia (1-1) to finish fifth in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, which qualified Peru for the intercontinental playoffs against New Zealand. The South Americans will be the favourites in that tie, unfortunately for the Whitecaps, the match would take place during the Western Conference semifinals meaning Reyna would not be available for the Whitecaps. How big of a loss Reyna’s absence would be was evident in Vancouver’s 3-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls. Reyna has been the key player for the Whitecaps all season being the driving force of a late playoff run that could see Vancouver finish top of the West.
Chris Wondolowski #8 – San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Wondolowski is a legendary Major League Soccer striker. The now 34-year-old has scored 136 goals in 272 games for the San Jose Earthquakes. He also played 35 times for the US national team and was part of the 2014 World Cup squad. This season Wondolowski has been at it against scoring 12 goals and seven assists in 32 games, which makes him the Earthquakes’ top scorer. Although he is getting older, the Whitecaps will have to contain the striker if they want to get a result out of this match.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes – Match Stats
- The Whitecaps will finish in the top two of the Western Conference with a win on Sunday.
- This will be San Jose Earthquakes’ head coach Chris Leitch’s first game against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
- Carl Robinson’s record against San Jose is W3 D3 L3.
- Vancouver’s home record against San Jose is W6 D1 L1.
- Fredy Montero, who has scored 13 goals, only needs one more goal to set a new personal single-season MLS goal-scoring record.
Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs San Jose Earthquakes 3-1
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Colorado Rapids – Possible Lineups
Marinović – Harvey, Waston, Parker, Nerwinski – Ghazal, Reyna, Tchani – Davies, Montero, Bolaños
Coach: Carl Robinson
Tarbell – Salinas, Bernárdez, Jungwirth, Sarkodie – Cerén, Godoy – Qazaishvili, Hyka – Wondolowski, Hoesen
Coach: Chris Leitch
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.