Scouting Toronto FC’s Next Opponent: Vancouver Whitecaps

Assessing Toronto FC’s next opponent, the Vancouver Whitecaps, ahead of their showdown at BMO Field.

Toronto FC are doing everything right so far. They just completed an eight-game road trip in which they secured 11 points, then came back home to knock off one of the best teams in the West in FC Dallas.

However, the better they play, the bigger the target on their back becomes. Such is the reality of being the number 1 team in the MLS’ Power Rankings. That’s why, when the Vancouver Whitecaps roll into town on Saturday, they are not a team to be underestimated.

The Whitecaps are in the midst of a two-game win streak, and will look to make it three when they travel to BMO Field. They played against the Chicago Fire in midweek, so in addition to having the crowd on our side, we’ll also be more well-rested. But if there’s one thing that is on Vancouver’s side, it’s momentum.

Just one game after scoring two goals on Jake Gleeson, something that was once thought of as being impossible, they beat the Chicago Fire in the most dramatic way possible. Despite having a 12-3 advantage in shots on target and owning 60% of possession, they still needed some late-game heroics to take all three points. When they needed someone to score late, Blas Perez stepped up, and what a goal it was.

What makes it even more remarkable is that it completed a brace for him, meaning that Blas Perez will definitely be a player to watch for. They definitely don’t regret swapping Mauro Rosales for him. Even with Kei Kamara getting traded, that could still stand up as the best deal of the season when all is said and done.

Another player to watch for is, of course, David Ousted, a reigning Goalkeeper of the Year nominee. Ousted has played a massive part in Vancouver’s recent success, and he is often the heart of the team. We’ve got a pretty good keeper of our own, but it’ll be hard for him to try and match Ousted.

And if there’s one thing that went wrong for the Whitecaps in their last win, it was seeing Masato Kudo exit the game. He suffered a head injury in the 11th minute when he collided with the Chicago Fire keeper, and had to be substituted when blood started trickling down. He had just scored his first goal against Portland, and earned a spot in the Team of the Week, so to see that happen is never a good thing.

Both teams will be in form, and playing their best football of the season. If there’s one thing that could push Toronto FC over the top, it’s the memories of their last game in which Jozy Altidore hit a brace and trolled Whitecaps fans hard. Considering he’s scoreless on the year, now would be a great time for Altidore to break out of that slump and hit the Whitecaps where it hurts again.

Even with the Whitecaps playing as well as they are, Toronto FC has the home field advantage and will be better rested, so you have to like their chances. But whatever happens, we’re guaranteed to get some fireworks as all-Canadian matchups always have an added element to them. Let’s hope that the good guys are on the winning end of it once more!