Whitecaps will play their first home game in almost a month tonight versus a depleted Montreal Impact. This will be the third regular MLS season game between these two Canadian teams since joining MLS.
Pre-MLS era these two teams have meet many times and developed an intense rivalry as they even squared off in the 2009 USL-1 cup final as they fought for the title. On that day the Impact were victorious but since then the Whitecaps have enjoyed the upper hand.
The Impact played their first ever MLS game in Vancouver back in 2012 and the newly revamped team fell 2-0 to the Whitecaps. The only other time they meet was late last year in Montreal as both teams pushed for a playoff spot. Thanks to a penalty kick by Kenny Miller and a brace from He Who Must Not be Named (Camilo) the Whitecaps rolled to a 3-0 victory on the road.
When the teams meet again tonight at BC Place the Whitecaps (5-2-6) will host a struggling Impact (2-7-4) that suffered a demoralizing defeat at the hands of DC United before the World Cup break. It was reported by several Montreal reporters yesterday that the Impact had flown to Vancouver without Justin Mapp and Marco Di Vaio.
Defender Matteo Ferrari has had an injury riddled beginning to his 2014 campaign and remains a question mark for the game. The Impact have been busy making trades trying to plug the gaping holes in their roster and will likely start a combination of youth and experience in Vancouver. Montreal’s back line has been leaky this year and they are not known for their speed.
If you know anything about the Whitecaps is that they are, without question, the fastest lineup in the league. Vancouver coach Carl Robinson hinted to reporters earlier this week that he could start Kekuta Manneh, Erik Hurtado, and Darren Mattocks tonight. This could be a very long night for Impact coach Frank Klopas.
Vancouver will be without Captain Jay DeMerit who tore a tendon in his ankle in Philadelphia pre World Cup. Defender Steven Beitashour is currently representing Iran in Brazil so Reo-Coker will likely see action in defence again. Did you hear that noise? That was every Vancouver fan groaning. Yes, Vancouver has some defensive issues this year. After building strong leads in Portland they nearly let the Timbers earn a draw and against the Union they gave up a 2 goal lead before finally settling for a 3-3 draw.
After watching some great World Cup action the last few weeks it will be fantastic to finally see some MLS action again. I’m sure that tonight’s game will be action packed.