Tonight the Whitecaps will travel to San Jose to take on a beaten and battered San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose are coming off a double header against the Portland Timbers during which they gave up a one goal lead to lose 2-1 at home before getting hammered 3-0 in Portland. The Whitecaps have been experiencing the complete opposite for emotions as last week they rolled into Seattle to steal all 3 points and defended the Cascadia Cup.
This weekend will also be the last time we see the Earthquakes play at Buck Shaw Stadium as next year they will be in their brand new stadium. That won’t be the only change for the Earthquakes in 2015. Earlier this week the team’s front office announced that head coach Mark Watson and assistant Nick Dasovic had been fired. Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear will take over the head coaching job in San Jose in 2015. This will mean San Jose players will be keen to show they are worthy of a 2015 contract so it would be premature to assume the Whitecaps will have a smooth sailing this weekend.
The Whitecaps have gone 2-0-0 against San Jose this season but they are yet to win in San Jose. That coupled with the fact that Vancouver has a nasty habit of laying an egg against weak teams means that Vancouver fans have reason to be concerned even with their team on a 3 game win streak.
There will be one change for certain in Carl Robinson’s starting lineup this weekend as central defender Kendall Waston will be absent due to yellow card accumulation. Waston will be replaced by Johnny Leveron who lost his starting role to the towering frame of Kendall Waston a few weeks ago. Earlier this week Robinson told Vancouver reporters that he has no intention of asking Waston to change his playing style. Waston has been given 5 yellow cards in 9 games but Waston has been a rock wall in the back for Vancouver as he is proving difficult to shift for opposing team’s strikers.
All of the Whitecaps players had strong games in Seattle last week but yet again Matias Laba stood out. The defensive midfielder has been nothing short of stellar this season since joining Vancouver on transfer from Toronto FC. His tenacity has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated but now he has become a serious contender to be crowned Whitecaps player of the year. If he loses the honor it won’t be due to any lack on his part. The reality is that attacking players always stand out in fan’s minds and so Pedro Morales will almost certainly take the award.
The Whitecaps are poised to claim their second piece of silverware this season as a win or tie in San Jose will mean they lock up the 2015 Canadian CCL spot. Toronto FC is 6 points behind Vancouver while both teams have 2 games remaining in the regular season. After the devastating loss in New York last week Toronto will need a miracle if they hope to steal the 2015 CCL spot from the Whitecaps.