Whitecaps Try And Put Out The Chicago Fire But With A Watergun
The Whitecaps will look to stay alive in the MLS is Back tournament Thursday morning. The only problem is they will need to put out a fire, a rather large fire, that has been given plenty of oxygen.
Vancouver is coming off an extremely costly loss to Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders. Costly in it was a 3-0 defeat, but more so that they lost Keeper Maxime Crepeau in the 58th minute. Max parried a cross away by Jordan Morris and was stepped on by Handwalla Bwana who was looking to pounce on the loose ball.
It was probably not the way Thomas Hasal would have liked to make his Whitecaps debut being forced into action. He came up big early to get into the game charging a bad pass back and stopping Raúl Ruidíaz. If that didn't get the jitters out he was forced back into position and had to make a save on Nicolás Lodeiro.
Things would settle down for Vancouver but they weren't able to get on the score sheet. Meaning the Whitecaps will try and put out the Chicago Fire with a depleted squad of firefighters.
The Chicago Fire FC are coming off a 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes also Sunday. Which means they will also look to stay alive in MLS is Back. After going scoreless in the first half against the Earthquakes, Chicago was caught a bit flat-footed as Jackson Yueill was able to pick out Cristian Espinoza who fired it past Kenneth Kronholm.
He was able to make it 1-0 in the 56th for San Jose. The Fire did the same thing as Vancouver and forget that Chris Wondolowski needs to be marked at all times. Especially in the box! He gave San Jose the 2-0 lead shortly after coming on in the 82nd minute. Did everyone forget he is the MLS all-time leading goal scorer or what?
Chicago finds itself in a better position than Vancouver as even a loss by 1 goal could move them through to the round of 16. The Whitecaps try and put out the Chicago Fire and desperately stay alive in MLS is back. It will be tough needing a win and by multiple goals with a depleted lineup.
How Will The Whitecaps Try And Put Out The Chicago Fire?
No seriously how will the Whitecaps try and put out the Chicago Fire? If Vancouver was shorthanded to start the tournament what are they now? The only thing that I can think of right now of a positive is fans can't complain about spending money, as the team is, or about playing youth, as the team has to. So we have that at least.
Another thing we have is the debuts of not only Keeper Thomas Hasal, but Cristián Gutiérrez who came on for Jasser Khmiri in the 73rd minute. He moved over to left-back with Derek Cornelius also coming on for his first minutes of the MLS is Back Tournament. Expect to see a similar starting lineup as the last two games as the Whitecaps try and put out the Chicago Fire.
That is except for Crepeau of course who is out for a while. Jasser Khmiri has had two average games so if Cornelius is fit he could slot in at Center back for the struggling Tunisian. Head coach Marc Dos Santos doesn't have many options for change at this point as the Whitecaps try and put out the Chicago Fire.
There is also another huge question for Vancouver as the Whitecaps try and put out the Chicago Fire. Whos is their back up Keeper? With Maxime Crepeau out and Bryan Meredith having to leave the bubble for the passing of his mother. Vancouver was going to be left with just Hasal as an option in net. Ali Adnan has been taking reps at Keeper at the end of training so there's always him...
Thankfully CEO Axel Schuster was able to make a deal with the Montreal Impact and Aquire Jonathan Sirois on a one day loan for Thursday July 23rd. He will serve as the back up incase anything happens to Thomas Hasal. Ali Adnan will have to wait for his turn as will Roberto Luongo. The Caps and former Vancouver Canucks goalie were having some fun on twitter if you missed it.
Chicago Will Try To Keep The Fire Burning
After setting themselves up in a good position with an opening 1-0 win against the Seattle Sounders, Chicago can see themselves off to the round of 16 with a win, a draw, or even possibly a loss by only 1. That is the luxury that head coach Raphaël Wicky has going into Thursday morning. But with the second spot in the group and season points still up for grabs don't expect Chicago to sit back.
Luka Stojanovic will not be available for the Chicago Fire as he left the Bubble after suffering a knee injury against the Earthquakes. C.J. Sapong has had a busy tournament not on the stat sheet but was very present in both games for the Fire.
Besides Stojanovic The Whitecaps try and put out the Chicago Fire with a relatively similar lineup to the last two games. Chicago is a much different team than last year it seems with all the changes they made off the field.
It will be curious to see how each team comes on to start the game. Head Coach Marc Dos Santos made it clear his team would have to defend very well if they were to have a chance to win by 2 goals. Or will Chicago play for a draw? I guess if you want to find out you will have to wake up early on the west coast, I guess you could PVR it, or wake up and find out the results too cause 6 am is early!
Stay Tuned As The Whitecaps Try And Put Out The Chicago Fire
Vancouver will look to stay alive in the MLS is Back Tournament so stay tuned Thursday. I will be up watching it bright and early with a large pot of coffee.
It happens to be before my weekly show for Sports Talk Line so make sure to tune into our YouTube Channel at 3 pm Pacific 6 pm Eastern time to bring you a recap and post-game.
Hope you are going to wake up early, like me, Thursday to watch the Whitecaps Try And Put Out The Chicago Fire and stay alive in the MLS is back Tournament. But if not, then even more reason to check me out on Twitter when you wake up for all the latest news and notes from the match.