Vancouver will come into the game with only one key player missing, Manneh had surgery on his foot in the week and will miss a few games. The other players missing are only squad players and therefore Vancouver should enter the game in a fairly strong position as they hope to gain a couple of places this weekend.
Whitecaps will be missing Christian Dean, Russell Teibert, Kekuta Manneh and Blas Perez through injury, whilst Marco Bustos is also a doubt with an eye problem. David Ousted will retain his place in goal whilst Tim Parker and Kendall Waston will play at centre back in front of him. Jordan Smith will play on the right whilst Jordan Harvey will continue on the left hand side of the back four, which is at full strength. Matias Laba and Andrew Jacobson will continue in the centre of midfield, whilst Cristian Techera will move to the left flank. Christian Bolanos will play on the right hand side whilst Pedro Morales is likely to come for Nicolas Mezquida with Masato Kudo dropping to bench to maintain fitness as Eric Hurtado takes his place.
The back four are fairly stable and don’t like to venture forward much, with the addition of both Laba and Jacobson in the centre they’ll try and win the midfield battle to protect the defence by regaining the ball and getting it to Morales to move forward. In attacking areas the midfield has really been shining for the team recently. Techera and Bolanos have been in superb form and with Morales and Kudo they should look more potent.
The key players in the side seem to be hitting form with Techera playing really well last weekend. The return of Kudo to the squad will also be a boost, with the striker adding a real threat in the final third along with Morales who needs to be a staple of the side moving forward.
Orlando will be suffering from a poor run of results heading into the game with no win in three with disappointing performances on top, results have seen morale visibly decline within the side. They’ll need to pick themselves up soon or risk dropping further down the league. They have also failed to score for three games and whilst they are away from home this weekend, they will be looking for an early goal to get rid of the cloud hanging over them. The one plus for the side has been the good performances in midfield, where their play has been clever and intricate.
They will come into the game missing Rafael Ramos, Harrison Heath and Kaka through injury whilst Tommy Redding is a major doubt with a hamstring problem. Brek Shea will also be unavailable through suspension. Interim managers Bobby Murphy and Anthony Pulis are likely to make a couple of changes but the defence should remain the same, with Kevin Alston and Luke Boden filling the full back roles. Seb Hines and David Mateos will line up in the centre ahead of Joe Bendik in goal. The midfield is expected to see Darwin Ceren come back into the side in place of Heath, with Christian Higuita and Antonio Nocerino playing alongside him. Carlos Rivas is likely to move to the left hand side to accommodate Cyle Larin centrally, whilst Kevin Molino will continue his role on the right.
Orlando are likely to remain quite offensive for the opening stages of the game as they look for an early goal to quell any nerves but that could leave them exposed, especially in wide areas where Whitecaps have strong players in Bolanos and Techera. Larin has cut a frustrated figure at times with the striker having to spend lots of time chasing the ball and defending from the front, with Orlando not enjoying the best of form and they again may have to settle for a point here with BC Place a tough place to get points from.
Vancouver will be in good spirits coming into the game following a good victory over Salt Lake midweek. They didn’t play especially well but they got some luck in their win which would’ve given the squad a bit of belief after a couple of weeks of poor results and luck going against them. On the other side we have Orlando, who failed to score for three matches. Given the home advantage, Whitecaps should have no problem winning at home.
Prediction: Whitecaps -1.00 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.91 Pinnacle
In-Play betting option : If there is no early goal for Whitecaps, the odds should rise and there would be a value bet on home team to win. Minimum odds 1.90 . If there is a miracle and Orlando somehow scores the first goal, +0.00 on home team is a valid option.
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