PREVIEW – The Vancouver Whitecaps hold their 2023 MLS season opener at BC Place this Saturday, facing Real Salt Lake on MD-1. Looking to start off this season with a bang, here is the Whitecaps’ predicted line-up for their game against RSL on Saturday, February 25th.
Vancouver Whitecaps Lineup Prediction vs RSL on February 25
Whitecaps’ New Additions
The Vancouver Whitecaps have been busy this off-season, adding eight new faces to the roster. Some big-money signings include Uruguayan center-back Mathías Laborda, Japanese goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka, and Venezuelan striker Sergio Córdova. They also acquired Canadian center-back Karifa Yao via the Re-Entry Draft and French center-midfielder J.C. Ngando via the MLS SuperDraft. Lastly, the ‘Caps promoted some WFC2 players to senior contracts, including left-back Ali Ahmed, goalkeeper Max Anchor, and striker Simon Becher.
Whitecaps Injuries to Consider
The Whitecaps have an almost entirely healthy squad for this first match. The only exceptions are Canadian left-back Cristian Gutierrez, who is out due to IT band tightness, and Déiber Caicedo, who is still out after receiving meniscus surgery in his right knee back in July 2022. The club has, however, revealed that Caicedo is two weeks away from first-team training, meaning that the attacking force will return to full strength soon.
Whitecaps Story Lines vs RSL
The biggest storyline of this game is new DP signing Sergio Córdova facing his old team, Real Salt Lake. Córdova played 33 games for RSL in 2022, scoring 11 goals and assisting two. He found his form late in the season for RSL, scoring seven goals in his last 12 games. He will most likely face fellow countryman Jefferson Savarino, who played alongside Córdova in 2022 for RSL.
On the other hand, ex-Whitecap Zack MacMath comes back to BC Place once again. MacMath played one season for the Whitecaps, back in 2019, where he was teammates with current Whitecaps goalkeeper Thomas Hasal in his first year going pro. He made eight appearances for the ‘Caps.
Vancouver Whitecaps Predicted Lineup vs RSL
GK – Yohei Takaoka
RB – Tristan Blackmon
CB – Mathías Laborda
CB – Ranko Vesilinovic
LB – Luis Martins
DM – Andrés Cubas
CM – Alessandro Schöpf
CM – Julian Gressel
CF – Ryan Gauld
CF – Pedro Vite
ST – Brian White
Sergio Córdova will probably start on the bench given how late he officially joined the squad, but given the occasion, he will likely make an appearance off the bench in the second half. Cristian Dájome will also probably come in at some point, in place of Vite or White, after his fine pre-season form.