The Whitecaps were trounced out of the CCL midweek in embarrassing fashion, enduring a 6-0 aggregate loss against conference rivals LAFC. The lineup on the night was questionable at best, but maybe it was because Sartini was prioritizing this game instead.
Focusing on Saturday, Vancouver will look to take their league form further as they are unbeaten in their last five games in MLS. The pieces are there, but it feels like they’re not being utilized to the best of their abilities. Becher will look to start against Austin and Cubas is returning from injury so there are things to be excited for. Caicedo’s return should also bolster the attack. The hope is that the players who played on Tuesday aren’t too tired to put in a shift as the Whitecaps travel westward to Texas from California.
Austin hasn’t had as high flying of a season as they had last year. The free flowing attack seems stifled, and their play is disorganized and messy. Driussi and Urruti have combined for a goal a piece and an assist this season, far from the pace of their combined fourty goal contributions in 2022. This is where Austin has suffered, as they have only scored six goals so far this season. With MVP candidate players last season and the addition of solid attacking options of Gyasi Zardes and Will Bruin, one wouldn’t think the attack would be Austin’s greatest weakness. This is even before factoring in them splashing 5 million on Emiliano Rigoni from Brazil. It looks like the team has been resting too much on their own laurels instead of hitting the ground running and they’ve been punished severely for it. Losing three of their league games, the biggest shock came in their defeat to Hatian side Violette in the CCL, a match where many MLS faithful believed the lone star team was a lock.
Heading into their match with Vancouver, a 3-0 league loss to LAFC will also be pressing on their minds. If the Whitecaps are to take anyone into consideration it will have to be Jon Gallagher, as he has three goals on eight shots, the best production on his team, with Driussi coming far in second with seventeen shots, six on target, and one goal to show for it.
Forcing the latter to take errant shots and controlling Gallagher will give the Whitecaps the opening they need in order to find victory, if their attack is able to pounce on their chances. With their players fresh, it should be an easily winnable game, and the Whitecaps should be expected to win after waving the white flag in the second leg of the CCL quarterfinals. (A move I am still processing internally). Anything but 3 points will be a disappointment, so no pressure, Vanni Sartini.
One thought on “Whitecaps Aim to Annihilate Austin”
The match in LA was a forgone conclusion. They had to score 4 goals in a place were we have never won a game. Anyone who thought we had a chance needs to get out of fantasy land. We have only won once in Austin. A 0-0 tie is a realistic result.