After a long road-trip that lasted 7 games, the Whitecaps are finally touching back down at BC Place for a match against Eastern Conference competition. What was a strong start to their road journey sputtered to a disappointing one point in three games, repeatedly losing the lead after scoring first. This could be down to various factors, but it’s hard to think that fatigue wouldn’t have set in, even for the most experienced players. Given this, their drop in form to end the trip has placed a heightened importance on these final four matches of the MLS regular season, three of which are at home.
DC United is a decent test for Vancouver, but certainly the weakest of their four remaining opponents. Gone are the days of Wayne Rooney (as a player) and Lucho Acosta, where the Whitecaps were able to grab a victory at home many years back. However, the middling nature of this DC United team has remained somewhat unchanged, as they continue to search for their identity in this new era of MLS.
Many former Whitecaps have headed to DC United, most recently Cristian Dajome, while players such as Yordy Reyna and Felipe Martins have come and gone throughout the years. The addition of the aforementioned Colombian hasn’t done much to alter the fate of DC, who are sitting just below the playoff line with 9 wins in 31 games.
We out here 👊 pic.twitter.com/3byZCWU2uV
— D.C. United (@dcunited) September 30, 2023
The star power of Christian Benteke stands tall above the rest in DC, with him having over double the goal contributions as the next highest scorer still at the club, and just coming off a hat-trick in a 5-3 loss to the New York Red Bulls. They have other solid MLS players such as Ruan and Pedro Santos, but nothing has really been clicking consistently for DC.
Defensively, DC United is a top third team by their statistics, but their defending prowess appears to come in waves, where they’ll have a few clean sheets, but then concede a large number of goals over the following matches.
If the Whitecaps are able to solve their own defensive issues, it could be a cut-and-dry sort of match, although, even a slight misstep positionally could give Benteke an opportunity to extend Vancouver’s misery. DC is desperate for one of the final playoff spots in the East, so the Whitecaps should see the best that this United side has to offer.
With a quick turnaround and fitness from midweek a looming concern, Vancouver can’t take their foot off the gas. Whether the team has had enough time to rest will be seen, but I think there’s reason to be optimistic that the Whitecaps can start their homestand in style with a 2-1 Victory.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.