Posts Tagged ‘Bastian Chicago Fire’

Marc Dos Santos, Doneil Henry

VANCOUVER, B.C – The Zlatan show has come and gone, and it’s now time for the Bastian show as Vancouver Whitecaps FC travel to the Windy City to take on Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Chicago Fire on Friday night at SeatGeek Stadium.

Winless Whitecaps FC, are facing a familiar story as they have yet to record a victory this season.

A 0-4-1 (1-pont) start to the season has fans, media, and curious observers circling.

“I feel like we’re always talking about the same thing.” Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters on Thursday. “

“How do you improve…” Dos Santos asked the assembled media.

“You have to finish the chances that you have,” Dos Santos explained. “That could normally help you change the dynamic of a game. The big clear chances that we have, we have to finish them, and then see how the game plays out from there.”

Whitecaps FC haven’t scored in two matches, and the team as a whole has scored one goal from open play this season. With goals at a premium, the emphasis on playing solid defence, and keeping a clean sheet is higher than ever.

Vancouver enters a stretch where they will play three matches, in nine days, in three cities. Chicago, LAFC, and Orlando all present challenges of their own. Although it’s still relatively early, there must be an urgency to pickup points.

“Yes, every game we want points,” Goalkeeper, Maxime Crepeau told Har Journalist. “The urgency is always there before it’s too late, so totally.”

The 24-year-old, Crepeau has started all five Whitecaps FC matches this season. He recorded his first career MLS clean sheet in a nil-nil draw vs Seattle Sounders FC on March 30. In his first full season as a no.1 MLS keeper, can Crepeau handle an increased work load during a crucial trio of fixtures?

“It’s about the staff making decisions,” Crepeau said. “But I feel like I can play every game, anytime, no problem.”

At the other end of the pitch, Vancouver will face goalkeeper David Ousted, who made his mark during five seasons with Whitecaps FC. The Danish shot-stopper posted a 55-49-39 record during his time on the west coast.

During the 2017 season, Ousted took a young New Jersey native under his wing.

“Dave’s a great guy,” Jake Nerwinski explained. “I played with him my first year, he helped me a lot. He’s a veteran that kind of took me under his wing, and gave me some good advice. I think we’re worried about our tactics and being able to execute them against an entire Chicago team.”

In terms of tactics Whitecaps FC need to score early, dictate the play, and make sure they take their chances. The 1-2-2 (5-points) Fire haven’t had a smooth start to the season, but they have several stars that can change a match.

Schweinsteiger isn’t the only face Whitecaps FC should be worried about. Nemanja Nikolić, Aleksandar Katai, and their newest acquisition, Nicolás Gaitán, all have the ability to turn up and take control of a match.

“Yeah, they have a good team,” Crepeau agreed. “We’ve seen them. They picked up a point in Toronto last week. They’re a team with a dangerous body in front. (C.J) Sapong is a target up front, and Bastian is of a great soccer mind. They have a good team of course. This league is difficult when we go on the road. Now it’s all about being together, and getting a result.”

How do Whitecaps FC earn a result, and get the better of Schweinsteiger?

“Bastian is a world-class player, he’s had a great career,” Nerwinski said. “We know that he’s great at playing out of the back. He’s very calm on the ball. We just need to be able to exploit his weaknesses. He’s not as fast as he was anymore. We need to make sure we can get balls in behind, make him run, and get him tired.”

If you can’t win on the wings, the old adage of run, and gun, and getting in behind the oppositions back-line is a time-tested tactic. Whitecaps FC have the pace, but it remains to be seen if Bastian will be bothered by an aggressive over-the-top transition approach.

“We know at this point, it’s important to get a tie or a win,” Nerwinski revealed. “We’re getting to that point where we need to start getting results. Just for morale, building confidence, and for going on with the season. We’re looking at, at least getting a point against Chicago.”

Bridgeview, Illinois could be the good luck charm Whitecaps FC have been waiting for. Chicago has never been solid at home. The time is perfect for Vancouver to bounce back and earn Marc Dos Santos his first MLS win as a head coach.

 

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