New England Soccer Today

Scouting Report: Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Camilo Sanvezzo (right) takes on Chance Myers during an April 18th clash between the 'Caps and Sporting K.C. (Photo: John May for Prost Amerika)

(Editor’s note: Prior to each Revolution match, New England Soccer Today will invite a reporter who covers the Revolution’s upcoming opponent to provide greater insight on what to expect on gameday.)

This week, Steve Clare from Prost Amerika was kind enough to share his insight on the Whitecaps and what the Revolution can expect when they face them Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.)

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New England Soccer Today: What’s been Vancouver’s form so far this season? How do you think they’ll approach this game after they toppled San Jose with a 2-1 win over the weekend?

Prost Amerika: Vancouver have been the clean sheet kings with six from nine games. Until the 2-1 win over San Jose, they had lost those games where they had conceded. They will see the Revs as a winnable game for two reasons. Firstly, they have discarded the away hoodoo that prevented them winning on the road last year. The win in Columbus was against the run of play but wins such as those are the type that convince you you can pull results out of bad performances. Secondly, Revs record of six losses in nine screams louder than the fact that five of those losses were away from the Gillette.

What things has Vancouver done especially well so far this season?

Prost Amerika: Clean sheets. They generally have made it hard to score on them, though until last Saturday, they have tended to collapse once that happens. Their less heard of players such as Jun Marques Davidson and Matt Watson have also without fanfare slid into the MLS groove. Martin Bonjour has provided Jay DeMerit with a regular centre half partner after a season where those positions came with a revolving door.

Which areas still need improvement?

Prost Amerika: Eric Hassli found the net in the last minute against San Jose but has otherwise not set the league alight, despite having compatriot Seb Le Toux to play off. If he is to continue to be a regular starter, he needs to improve, particularly when Barry Robson arrives from Scotland to strengthen the midfield, a move that may see Le Toux thrust back into a forward role.

What’s the biggest difference between this year’s Whitecaps and last year’s edition?

Prost Amerika: For me, it’s the ability to select a consistent pairing at centre half and of course, that a Scotsman is running the show. Not that this is working too many wonders to the south! The other thing is there are far more locker room leaders than last year, where everybody tended to stare at their feet when leadership was needed.

Sebastien LeToux, Eric Hassli and Camilo Sanvezzo are all attacking threats that the Revs will have to keep tabs on, but who else should the Revs keep an eye on Saturday night?

Prost Amerika: Omar Salgado. It’s hard for Salgado to break into the line up but when he does, he can be every bit as dangerous as the names you correctly identified. I’m surprised you missed Davide Chiumiento. He can wander in and out of games. When he wanders in, he is every bit as dangerous as Camilo. There is also a youngster called Cannon who is having an incredible season between the sticks, making some inspirational saves.

What are some of things Vancouver will try to do Saturday night to stack the odds in their favor?

Prost Amerika: Use pace on the flanks. They spread it wide where Chiumiento and Camilo have prodigious talent. New England’s full backs may well need support from the wide mids to counter this.

What is their likely starting 11 against the Revs?

Prost Amerika: Barring injuries…Joe Cannon; Young-Pyo Lee, Martin Bonjour, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat; Gershon Koffie, Jun Marques Davidson, Matt Watson, Sebastien Le Toux, and two of the following three – Omar Salgado, Davide Chiumiento, and Camilo Sanvezzo.

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Steve Clare is a Seattle-based writer whose Prost Amerika website has been covering global football since 2005. He is the current President of The North American Soccer Reporters.

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