Posts Tagged ‘MLS Jake Nerwinski’

VANCOUVER, B.C – Please visit Daily Hive for my story on who is expected to return next season for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and who’s likely to headed in another direction.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – The NFL’s 100th season kicked off last week with expectations, and excitement that give every fan belief that their team will win Super Bowl LIV in Miami, on February 2, 2020.

As anticipation was building, and well before Antonio Brown circus, U.S. Soccer’s Carli Lloyd made headlines by kicking a 55-yard field goal during a joint session between Philadelphia Eagles, and Baltimore Ravens on August 20, in Philadelphia.

The two-time FIFA World Cup, and Olympic Gold medal winner earned praise for her precise accuracy, and composure.

Life as a kicker in the NFL has it’s ups, and downs. One day, you’re a hero like New Orleans Saints kicker, Wil Lutz, and the next day you’re a kicker for the Chicago Bears.

Being a kicker in the NFL is not for the faint of heart. You have to have ice in your veins. Amongst all the noise, wind, or a bad snap, you have to kick like your life depends on it.

The Sky Blue FC captain, has proved throughout her career with U.S. Soccer that she can deliver in the crunch. The two-time ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ knows what it takes to compete under pressure in a packed stadium full of fans.

The 37-year-old, product from Delran, could be gearing up for an opportunity to kick in the NFL.

Lawrenceville, New Jersey, native, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Jake Nerwinski supports Lloyd.

“I saw her when she hit a 55-yard (kick),” Nerwinski told Har Journalist following training in Vancouver on Tuesday. “I think that would be incredible if she could make it. She’s got to be able to do it under pressure with guys coming at her.”

“Hey, if she can kick it, why not?”

As a profesional soccer player, you might think that it’s a smooth transition switching over to attempt to kick a field goal through the uprights, but you would be wrong. Nerwinski has tried both, and he knows where his bread is buttered.

“I think she’s got a good, strong foot, she knows where to hit the ball. It’s definitely different, kicking from a soccer ball, to a football,” Nerwinski pondered. “I’ve tried to do it before with field goals, and I can definitely hit a soccer ball further.”

The turnover for life as a kicker in the NFL is relatively high. An unhappy New York Jets fan base was already clamouring for Lloyd to replace kicker Kaare Vedvik, who struggled in the Jets 17-16 Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

The 25-year-old, Vedvik, was waived by the Jets on Tuesday.

Although, Nerwinski doesn’t personally know Lloyd, he still has a connection to ‘The Garden State’ native.

“I know her cousin,” Nerwinski revealed. “I played against her cousin in high school growing up. His name is Mike Fornaro. He used to be on our rival high school team. He used to mark me. He’s a good player. I went to Notre Dame High School, and he went to Steinert (High School). It’s a big rivalry in Mercer County. We always won.”

Growing up, Nerwinski wasn’t a Jets, Giants, or Eagles fan. Kevin Nerwinski always made sure to cheer for the Oakland Raiders, and Jake followed suit.

The 24-year-old, closely followed the Raiders off-season drama with now former, wide receiver, Antonio Brown.

“If he doesn’t want to be on our team, we don’t want him,” Nerwinski explained. “I think we had a great performance last night, as everybody saw. I think Tyrell Williams is going to be a key player, he doesn’t need AB anymore. He’s the number one guy, and I think we’ve got a lot of good stuff going forward.”

The Raiders certainly didn’t need AB during a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos on ‘Monday Night Football.’

It’s early but there is indeed optimism within Raiders Nation.

Did AB orchestrate a move out of Oakland to join the Super Champion, New England Patriots?

“I think after he lost his guaranteed money, he was gone no matter what,” Nerwinski said. “He lost $30 million, so what’s the point of him staying. I think that was kind of a mutual thing, where they fined him, they wanted him to leave, and they knew he would want to leave.”

Nerwinski, was forced to leave Whitecaps FC’s 3-1 loss on August 31 vs New York City FC. An ankle sprain has kept Nerwinski on the sidelines as Vancouver gets set to host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, September 14 at B.C. Place.

“It’s doing a lot better, I’ve had a whole week and a half of recovery inside with the trainers. This is my first day out, and I feel good. I think I’m probably another week away. I think when it first happened, I thought the worst, but after two days, it started to loosen up. I was able to move it a lot better. I started jogging today, and I feel good.”

Nerwinski will be looking to kick things into high gear as Whitecaps FC wind down the season with four matches remaining. There will be plenty of time for Nerwinski to kick back and follow the Raiders, and Carli Lloyd.

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC Coach Marc Dos Santos at B.C. Place. Photo: Har Journalist.

VANCOUVER B.C – Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Vancouver Whitecaps FC, it did. Canadian Premier League side, Cavalry FC made history by knocking off Whitecaps FC in the Canadian Championship quarterfinals.

Vancouver has not won a football match since May 25. It’s a stretch that has seen them go winless in ten matches across all competitions. They aren’t scoring, defending, or playing as a team.

It feels like anything that could go wrong, has, or will go wrong.

“To be honest with you, if I can put it very raw, and direct. The month of July has been a nightmare, it’s just been a nightmare in everything.” Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters at Vancouver International Airport before the team departed for Minnesota.

The simplest of passes aren’t connecting, players aren’t hustling back on defence, and there seems to be no offensive structure when the team looks to move forward. Shoulders are slumped, fingers are being pointed, and frustration levels are rising.

The notion of whether or not the players have tuned out Marc Dos Santos is an inevitable question. The team isn’t performing, and the message isn’t getting through to his players.

“I don’t know, you have to ask them.” Dos Santos told Har Journalist. “I don’t feel that, but you have to ask them.”

If Dos Santos isn’t able to help guide his squad of players that he brought in during a hectic offseason, that leaves little chance the players will find a winning formula.

A fired up, and visibly frustrated Jake Nerwinski, simply doesn’t have all the answers.

“I’m not the coach, so I’m not the guy that’s going to give you guys all the tactics, and the players to play. I think it comes down to a mentality, and it’s a desire to win, a desire to get out of this slump, to stop the losing from two months. That’s what it is.”

Leading goal-scorer Fredy Montero, and skipper Jon Erice, were both left out of the eighteen for Vancouver’s exit from the Canadian Championship. Dos Santos had to fill a Canadian roster quota for the competition. Having players who have played in Europe, and are earning $968,000 (Montero), and $752,364 (Erice) sitting up in the press box certainly sends a message to them and the rest of the team.

The effort that’s been delivered hasn’t been good enough all around. However, how many times can you pull the ‘press box benching card’ before the locker room, and players switch off, if they haven’t already.

With eleven matches to go, Whitecaps FC’s season has the potential to plummet further.

“I think sitting them, and now there’s a message, it’s not about that,” Dos Santos explained. “These guys are 32-years old, it’s players that have experience. We have a game in Minnesota where Fredy is going to play, it’s not about that. It’s about me being challenged right now as a coach to motivate a group. We’re all in this together.”

Whitecaps FC’s Andy Rose is one of the few players on the team with MLS experience. Rose spent four seasons with Seattle Sounders FC. He is well versed in the ups, and downs that MLS brings. If Vancouver isn’t all pulling in the right direction, it’s hard to get traction and go on a run of form. Whitecaps FC just haven’t been on the same page.

“There’s not many players in the locker room throughout this last month and a half that can really look at themselves and feel proud. Feel like they’ve done themselves justice. Individually you have to look deep.” Rose said.

“The fans can critique how I play, my skill, and if I make mistakes on the ball,” Nerwinski spoke honestly. “I hope they can never critique my heart, and my passion when I step on the field.”

It was expected that Vancouver Whitecaps FC would stand pat during the MLS transfer window that remains open until August 8, but things have changed. Needing to find a jolt of energy, and someone who can provide a boost, Vancouver are expected to make some type of move.

Whitecaps FC made a multi-million dollar transfer offer for South Korean international, Ui-jo Hwang. The attempts to bring the striker to Vancouver fell through because he wanted to play in Europe. Ui-jo moved to Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux.

It won’t be a flashy name, or someone that’s going to put the team on his back. It’s quite possible Vancouver will make a move just wake the team up, and try to kick them into first gear.

“Sometimes you need a little bit of new blood in the locker room to allow you to get a spark.” Dos Santos said.

“We’re trying in this transfer window to make something happen still in the next 7-8 days.”

“Am I optimistic… I think something is going to happen, but when our side already commits to we want to do it, and we’re kind of waiting for the other side, it’s tough to tell you if I’m one-hundred percent optimistic or not.”

The 4-11-8 Whitecaps FC take on 10-7-4 Minnesota United FC on Saturday night at Allianz Field. ‘The Loons’ defeated Vancouver 3-2 at B.C. Place in the MLS season opener on March 2. Vancouver will be looking to right the ship, and find momentum in Minnesota.

Whitecaps FC will hope to halt a five-match MLS losing skid that’s seen them outscored 17-2. The road hasn’t been kind to Vancouver. Whitecaps FC sport a 1-6-4 record away from B.C. Place. Five of the next six matches are on the road.

“It’s times like these when a lot of people are talking in and outside of the arena,” Rose added. “We totally understand that. We understand the fans mentality through stretches likes this. It’s important that the entire group sticks together through this and fight our way out of it.”

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VANCOUVER, B.C – Winless in six matches, Whitecaps FC are back in action on Saturday night at B.C. Place as they take on Sporting Kansas City, (5-7-7, 22-points). Vancouver, (4-8–8, 20-points) will be looking to break out of a slump that hasn’t seen them earn a victory since May 25. Four draws, and two losses, in all competitions has the Caps floundering.

“We have to grow offensively,” Coach Marc Dos Santos told reporters on Friday. “It’s been a stretch of a lot of draws. It’s also a stretch that we don’t lose much, but we tied too many. Hopefully tomorrow, we’ll be able to get back to a win.”

It’s a stretch to say Whitecaps FC have played consistent, solid football. They haven’t. A 6-1 shellacking from LAFC on July 6, was indicative of a team without confidence, that struggles to compete with top spending MLS teams.

Whitecaps FC have shown quality character, charisma, and structure, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to wins. Vancouver desperately needs a difference maker. Someone who can lead the team offensively, and create goals from nothing. It’s not enough to play solid defence, and hope to nic a goal in transition off the counter.

Players like Jake Nerwinski, aren’t waiting for someone to come in and save the season. If Vancouver is going to climb out of 11th spot in the western conference, it will have to come from within.

“We can’t really dwell on that,” Nerwinski was asked about the winless streak. “We can’t think that it’s a must win. We can’t keep that in the back of our minds. We just have to go out, and play free. We need to do the things that we plan to do right. We need to be strong defensively, and we need to score a few goals.”

The MLS transfer window opened on July 8. There are plenty of areas where Vancouver could look to make an addition. The transfer of Alphonso Davies to FC Bayern Munich brought in a MLS record (at the time) $22 million. Whitecaps FC need to splash some cash, bring in a quality signing, who can score goals immediately.

“It’s important to get better players here,” Dos Santos explained to Har Journalist. “I don’t know what you mean by splash…”

A name, someone who can make a difference right away.

“Yeah, it’s hard for us right now,” Dos Santos added. “It’s hard to bring in a big name, somebody that’s going to make a difference right away.”

Whitecaps FC were linked to 33-year-old Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz, during the offseason. When asked in February, Dos Santos quickly put water on those rumours.

“Bryan Ruiz, I’ll say this,” Dos Santos said. “If he was mentioned, congrats to the agent because he’s trying to finally to do something with Bryan in MLS, probably. I never spoke with the agent, and I never spoke with Bryan, and only if somebody in the club spoke without me knowing, but I don’t think it’s the case. That’s a total lie. It’s not true.”

There is only one true, and tested way to build confidence, and turn around a winless streak.

Win.

Vancouver knows what they have to do. It’s just a matter of going out, and getting the job done.

“By doing the little things a little bit better,” Dos Santos explained. “By defending better, creating. It was just one game, I would tell you, we were totally out of it. It was against LAFC. We have to defend much better than we did in L.A.”

The urgency on improving the club with a summer signing should be now. The dog days are here, and Whitecaps FC should look at making a summer signing splash, before the season is completely lost.

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Russell Teibert. Photo: Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Whitecaps FC are back on the road, as the team gets set for a pair of matches away from B.C. Place. Vancouver will take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, May 18, and then it’s a battle against the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, May 22.

Vancouver is coming off a 1-0 loss to Atlanta United FC on Wednesday night at B.C. Place. At the minute, Whitecaps FC sit 8th in the western conference with a record of 3-6-3, 12-points. Sporting Kansas City remain in 11th position with a 10-points, from a 2-4-4 record. The home side will be looking to snap an eight-match winless streak.

Whitecaps FC are no strangers to long distance travel. Playing on the west coast often means long road trips across the continent. Vancouver has already had three trips into the central and eastern time zones, traveling to Houston, Chicago, and Orlando. That often requires flying commercial with a layover before reaching the final designation.

Over the years, players have developed a flying routine. Some players prefer the window seat, over the aisle, and almost no player wants to be stuck in the dreaded middle seat.

“I love the aisle, so I can get up and go to the bathroom when I feel like it.” Fredy Montero explained.

“I’m an aisle guy,” Jake Nerwinski said. “I like to be able to get out. I like to lean my legs out into the aisle a little bit.”

“If it’s a long trip, I like the aisle,” Russell Teibert revealed. “If it’s quick trip, which we rarely have here in Vancouver, I like the window.”

“My favourite situation is a nice aisle seat, and I sleep as much as possible,” Andy Rose revealed. “Our last plane trip, we were on United, and we had a couple of Premier League games on, which was great. That’s probably the ideal situation. A good sleep, good book, and time to relax.”

“I’m always window seat,” Doneil Henry admitted. “I don’t like to be bothered, I don’t like to be bumped by carts when I’m in the aisle seat. Put me by the window, and I just sleep.”

“Middle, love the middle,” Scott Sutter joked. “I love being crammed in. No, no. Aisle all day, I prefer the aisle, I like to stretch my legs a little bit.”

There are a variety of choices to pass the time away on a long flights. You can try and get some kip, read a book, play cards, listen to music, watch a movie, or talk to your seat mate. Athletes usually like to rest up, relax, and watch a movie.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC players are no different.

“Watch movies, that I can’t watch at home with my kids,” Felipe told reporters at Vancouver International Airport. “I like to be quiet, watch movies, and enjoy myself. Anything on iTunes, and Netflix.”

“Mostly watch films, and see what new films are out,” Sutter said. “I’ve got my iPad, and a good book at the moment.”

“Soccer books, at the moment I’m reading a great book about Barcelona,” Rose explained. “That’s incredibly interesting. I read a lot about different coaches, managers, player autobiographies, all those sorts of things.”

“I try to sleep,” Nerwinski added. “I try to rest as much as I can. When I get a little stiff, I usually do a little walking down the aisle, until a flight attendant will yell at me to sit down. I watch Netflix. Right now I’m watching Designated Survivor, it’s pretty good.”

“Sleep, I like to sleep,” Henry said. “I don’t do anything other than sleep. Sometimes I download a couple of Netflix. I’ve been watching Imposters. I’m on the second season.”

“I don’t sleep, that’s for sure,” Montero revealed. “I get nervous when the plane is shaking, for those two seconds, five seconds. I’m praying about it, because I honestly don’t like it. Most of the time, I watch movies, read books, and talk to my teammates.”

There’s always one individual who is persistent in chatting up his teammates while they’re doing their own thing. If there’s a lengthy travel day ahead for Whitecaps FC, there’s one player that teammates would prefer they don’t sit beside.

“Ali (Adnan), Ali’s annoying.” Henry said.

“Normally I sleep, but Ali (Adnan) has been bothering me on the flights,” Teibert explained. “He likes to take pictures of me. I’ve kind of got to sleep with one eye open, now.”

“Joaquin (Ardaiz).” Nerwinski revealed. “I’ve sat next to him two or three times. He loves the middle (seat), which is a very odd thing. He likes to talk to everybody. If you sit next to him, you’re not going to get much sleep.”

“Yeah, Fredy Montero. He just does not shut-up on the flights,” Sutter laughed. “It’s crazy, he just wants to speak about everything. No, no, he’s great. If I can choose anyone, it would be next to Fredy.”

“Fortunately, we’re all sort of spread out on the plane,” Rose revealed. “I think we do a great job of trying to get away from the middle seats. Usually you’re sat by yourself. A few guys like to play cards together, and what not. For the most part, so far, I haven’t been hassled.”

Whitecaps FC will look to re-group in the friendly skies as they prepare for a week on the road. Vancouver will stay and train in Kansas City following Saturday’s match at Children’s Mercy Park. Vancouver will fly home on Thursday, May 23.

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VANCOUVER, B.C – The life of a professional football player is often spent in airports traveling to and from matches in cramped conditions. While NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB teams on the road are whisked from their comfortable charter seats to hotels. MLS players are often left squished in economy and wondering if they’ll make it to their destination city at all.

It’s not uncommon for MLS teams to experience long layovers, delays, and cancelled flights. It’s all a part of travelling across a continent as big as North America. MLS players say that not having charters can have a negative affect on the overall health, rest, and recovery. Arrival in a new city can often occur in the wee hours of the morning.

Players are jet-legged, their body clocks aren’t able to adjust, they are not in the best position to go out and succeed on the pitch on matchday. The probability of making mistakes, injuries, and overall fatigue, rises when players are jet-lagged.

MLS goalkeeper, Zach MacMath, is in his first season with Whitecaps FC. The long distances that Vancouver frequently has to travel has come as an unpleasant shock to him.

“This is the first year, I’ve dealt with so many connecting flights out of Vancouver,” MacMath said. “I think it’s very important for the league to grow, and up the standard of play. It’s not something that I think is going to happen quickly. It’ll take time, and obviously a lot of money to make happen.” 

“I think if we could get to eight next year, and continue to build from there. You get four, but that’s a discretionary for each team. Not every team uses all four flights each year.”

MLS players want more charters, and they want them included in the next CBA negotiations. Vancouver Whitecap FC recently completed a three match stretch in the span if nine days. Vancouver played away to Chicago on April 12, home to LAFC on April 17, and across the continent to Orlando, Florida for a match on April 20.

The Philadelphia Union played away to the LA Galaxy on April 13, flew home and played Montreal, on April 20, and then flew out to Vancouver to play Whitecaps FC on April 27.

Neither Vancouver, or Philadelphia took a charter flight.

Philadelphia Union captain, Alejandro Bedoya, spoke to Har Journalist post-match in Vancouver on Saturday.

“Oh my gosh, the obvious answer is charter flights,” Bedoya said. “You look at the way we got here (Vancouver). We flew out of Philly, with a connecting flight in Chicago. We had to wait, sitting on a United airplane. I think they’ve got to have the smallest leg room in economy. It’s just so tight. We land at around eleven at night. We get to the hotel at midnight, which is three in the morning, Philly time, and eat dinner. It’s just ridiculous. It’s absurd.”

Each MLS team is permitted four charter flights each season. If Philadelphia had traveled to and from Vancouver on a charter. That would have counted as two seperate charter flights.

“That’s the obvious answer, charter flights,” Bedoya reiterated. “They need to put their money, where their mouth is. I’ll never forget about the article Robert Kraft had in Sports Illustrated about why he bought the (New England) Patriots a second plane. He’s talking about player safety, health, recovery. Here in MLS, we’re not there yet. We better be there, the CBA is up, and that’s going to be a strong talking point.”

Whitecaps FC’s, Russell Teibert, has spent his entire MLS career playing on the west coast in Vancouver. He has been on many lengthy road trips. He is adamant that more charter flights need to included in the next CBA negations.

The current CBA expires on January 31, 2020.

“The CBA is coming up,” Teibert explained. “That’s going to be something our players union is going to have to discuss. That’s something we need to discuss as a union going forward. All the teams need to be on the same page with that.”

“That’s something that I’m sure is going to be a focal point for our next CBA. I don’t think it’s something that we can address right now, because we’re stuck with the old CBA.”

“At the end of the day, it’s about getting what’s fair for the players, owners, teams, and organizations.”

The biggest reason why MLS doesn’t use more charter flights, is down to cost. It has been estimated that it would cost $20 million per year for the league, and roughly $1 million per team. The cost of flying an entire team on a charter flight, plus the price of fuel can quickly add up. Each flight could cost a team upwards of $150,000 per charter.

“The way we need to figure it out, is if we get better flights,” Whitecaps FC’s, Jake Nerwinski said. “We’re working with the league right now, to work on more charter flights.”

“It would make a huge difference. Going on two commercial flights is very difficult for guys, to be sitting in small leg room. It’s something that you have to get use to throughout the year.”

Whitecaps FC MLSPA union representative, Zac MacMath, wants more charter flights, and a much smoother process.

“It just makes the whole process a lot easier,” MacMath explained. “More guys in this league are use to the difficulties of travel, but it just makes life easier. It gets more recovery time, and more mobility to be more prepared for games.”

If cost is a concern, there is always the idea of sharing a charter. MLS teams don’t require a charter each time they travel. Cascadia clubs, Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland could share a charter. You could also have teams like the LA Galaxy, LAFC, and San Jose Earthquakes share a charter. The same could be said for teams in the midwest, south, and east coast.

“That could be a solution definitely,” Bedoya agreed. “I’m not calling for every flight to be a charter. There are flights on the east coast, or west coast that are just over an hour or two flight. You don’t need to fly a charter then. I think cross country, especially with a midweek game. There should be no doubt about it. I don’t care what anybody says.”

“Like you said, if you split them like that. Cascadia teams, and maybe the teams on the east coast. The New York teams for example. That could be an option. If you look at NBA teams they go on a west coast trip. I would have preferred that. Maybe our wives would be upset with us, but trust me. It would have been a lot better for us to play the game in LA. Stay in LA, and then have the scheduling in Vancouver the following weekend. That would have been a better solution.”

If revenues, and MLS expansion fees are as high as $200 million. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be more money for charter flights. A potential thirty-team league should not have tired players criss-crossing all over North America on commercial flights. It hurts the end product on the pitch. This is a league wide issue that has no legroom left.

NOTES: The MLSPA could not be reached for comment. MLS did not provide comment at the time of publication.

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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.