The Whitecaps will go for their second MLS road victory this Saturday when they travel to Columbus to take on the 7th place team in the Eastern Conference the Columbus Crew.
The Whitecaps can take great strides as a franchise if they can get the three points. The 3-2-2 start for the Whitecaps is a nice start but there is room for improvement. The Whitecaps have been inconsistent all year and have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net. Vancouver has only scored two goals away from B.C. Place.
More importantly, the Whitecaps are starting a stench of where they will play likely eight games in a span of three and a half weeks. I say likely because the 2012 Canadian Championship is kicks off in Edmonton on Wednesday. The Whitecaps are projected to win the 2012 Canadian Championship. It won’t be easy. Soccer is very competitive at times and the Impact de Montreal and Toronto FC will be giving Vancouver all they can handle. Therefore, Martin Rennie’s team needs to be playing its best soccer going into the tournament to win their first ever Canadian Championship. This includes scoring away goals as it is the tie breaker if the teams are tied after the two legged series.
Aside from that, the Whitecaps are still in the mix in the Western Conference. It is early but it is also important they stay competitive. Last year, this team fell behind so far the team wasn’t able to build any momentum. The more games the Whitecaps stay in the mix for the playoffs, the more they can build for the future. The more momentum they build the better. Being competitive is the goal as it’s hard to expect this team to stay in contention for the whole season.
The Crew has some troubles of its own sitting 7th in the Eastern Conference at 2-3-1. Quite honestly, that record is worse than it sounds. Their two wins came against expansion Montreal and pointless Toronto. Unlike Vancouver, the Crew has difficulties preventing goals. This could be troublesome for Columbus if they fall behind early. Joe Cannon has been a brick wall in net for the Whitecaps except for a couple of outings where he let in three. Cannon has found his form again and if the game last Saturday against FC Dallas is any indication, Cannon will be hard to beat.
This game will show how much the Whitecaps have matured from last year. It’s a very winnable game if the Whitecaps play to their potential. Last year, the Whitecaps would find ways to draw or even lose these types of games. Last year was quite disappointing for the Whitecaps but they have put that behind them. A win would really go along way. On the flip side, a loss would show the league that the Whitecaps are pretenders and not contenders.
The game kicks off at 4:30pm and can be seen on Sportsnet Pacific.