Rivero Whitecaps

Know Your Opponent: Dangerous front four leads Vancouver, but defense has been shaky

Philadelphia Union (6-4-5, 23 points) take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6-3-7, 24 points) this Saturday in Talen Energy Stadium at 7 p.m. This weekend will mark the seventh career meeting between these clubs. Through the first six matchups each team has registered one win, one loss, and one tie against the other, leaving the all-time series lead deadlocked at a (2-2-2) record.

What you need to know

Only one other team in the MLS has allowed more scores than Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s 27 goals-conceded this season. But fortunately for Vancouver, the club’s offensive prowess has kept them in contention.

The team’s attack has been incredibly successful when it comes to creating effective scoring opportunities. With 103 shots on goal, Whitecaps FC are responsible for the most SOG’s in the league this season with 22 more than second place NYCFC. Overall, the club is scoring a respectable 1.5 goals per game – the fourth-most in the Western Conference.

Proven center back Kendall Waston will miss Saturday’s game with a suspension. Waston was given a two-game suspension for a late tackle against Portland on May 22. Waston was suspended for an additional game following a review, thus taking the defender out of MLS action until July 4 against L.A. Galaxy.

Players to Watch

Pedro Morales, midfielder (11 GP, 11 GS, 6g, 3a): It’s no secret that Pedro Morales is one of Vancouver’s deadliest offensive weapons. With six goals and three assists on the season, he leads the team in both categories. It would be hard not to expect the team’s most effective scoring threat to cause trouble near the net in any game this season, and the same goes for this week’s matchup against Philadelphia.

Jordan Harvey (15 GP, 15GS, 2g, 0a): A beloved member of the expansion Philadelphia Union, Harvey will make his return to Talen Energy Stadium for just the third time, and first since 2014. He is one of only two Whitecaps players to start and finish 15 MLS regular season games. The defender has even made major contributions on the offensive end, too. Despite only taking six shots on the season, he has executed on a third of his attempts with two scores total.

Kekuta Manneh (15 GP, 11 GS, 4g, 2a): Hard to believe the four-year pro is still just 21-year-old, but the ever-dangerous Manneh has shaken off a slow start in which he didn’t register a goal or an assist in his first seven games. Vancouver’s offense has been rolling as of late, and with as dangerous of a front four as there is in MLS, Manneh can sometimes be overlooked. The Union will need to have an eye on the speedster.

Possible Lineup

Goalkeeper: David Ousted
Defenders: Jordan Harvey, Tim Parker, Pa-Modou Kah, Fraser Aird.
Midfielders: Matías Laba, Russell Teibert (holding); Cristian Techera, Pedro Morales, and Kekuta Manneh (attacking).
Forward: Octavio Rivero
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