By all accounts the mood in the Whitecaps dressing room is the best it has ever been. A water fight broke out between Gershon Koffie and Nigel Reo-Coker after practice earlier this week which is just one example of the camaraderie in this team since Carl Robinson has taken over as head coach. Undefeated in 6 MLS matches and coming off a huge road victory against Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers the Whitecaps hit the road again. This weekend they visit PPL Park home of the Philadelphia Union.
The Union (3-7-5) were also on the road last week and will be riding a wave of confidence as they defeated Chivas USA 3-0. Philadelphia has not had the start to the 2014 season that they would have liked. Just 3 wins and 14 points from 15 games have the Union sitting 8th in the Eastern Conference. They made a big slash in the transfer market earlier in the season when they traded striker Jack MacInerney to Montreal for Andrew Wenger. Ex-Whitecap striker Sebastian Le Toux leads the team with 3 goals to his name. The Union’s defense has been leaky this year allowing 24 goals. In their previous two games before their victory against Chivas USA they allowed 9 goals as they were blown out by New England and the LA Galaxy.
The Whitecaps (5-2-5) will hope to earn another road victory this weekend which would see them break two club records. A win would mean 3 road victories in row for the first time since joining MLS and extended their unbeaten run to a 7th game. Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks could see a return to the starting 11 now that his hamstring injury seems behind him. Erik Hurtado has 4 goals in 4 games including the Canadian Championship and he has been a constant threat to opposing teams. He will surely be a thorn in the side of the Union defense all game long as Carl Robinson will certainly unleash his young speedsters on the Union defense. Pedro Morales who is loving life in Vancouver will look to continue where he left off against the Timbers. Morales had 2 goals from the spot and 2 assist against Portland. Captain Jay DeMerit had a shaky game versus Portland but Robinson is unlikely to make a change to his central defender pairing. Nigel Reo-Coker who is a natural midfielder has been filling in at RB. He was exposed continually last week against the Timbers which lead to 2 of Portland’s goals. This will be the main area the Union will look to expose so Vancouver’s defense will have to remain on their toes.