PREVIEW- The Vancouver Whitecaps’ match against Minnesota United FC on Saturday comes right in the middle of a FIFA international break, meaning that the match will come with some rotated squads from both teams. With no wins from their last four games, the Whitecaps will look to take advantage of this timing and record their first three points of the season.
Rotated 11? Whitecaps Predicted Lineups vs Minnesota United FC
How The Vancouver Whitecaps Have Lined-up Recently
The Whitecaps have had a consistent starting 11 in MLS play, only really rotating for their Concacaf Champions League matches against Real CD Espana. Mainstays have been goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka, defenders Ranko Veselinovic and Tristan Blackmon, as well as the midfield three of Julian Gressel, Alessandro Schopf, and Andres Cubas.
Ryan Raposo seems to have nailed down his place as starting left-back after impressive games in the Concacaf Champions League, with the right-back position being battled by Javain Brown and Mathias Laborda. Head Coach Vanni Sartini has used his favored 4-3-2-1 for a majority of the matches, only switching to a 4-4-2 for 35 minutes against LA Galaxy, meaning that we will likely see the Christmas tree formation for the foreseeable future.
Our 𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙓𝙄 vs @LAGalaxy 🌌
Kickoff is set for 7:39pm PT ⏱
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) March 19, 2023
Vancouver Whitecaps Recent Form and Tactics
The Whitecaps have been in mixed form recently, beating Real CD Espana 7-3 on aggregate, but failing to win their opening four matches in MLS. In the Whitecaps’ last game, they were likely fortunate to come away with a point after being saved of two Galaxy goals through VAR intervention, one of which might have been unfairly chalked off. However, some players have shone through the mediocracy.
Julian Gressel is second in assists in the league with three and first in big chances created. Andres Cubas is second in the league for successful tackles with 12. Ryan Gauld is tied for most key passes with seven.
But on the other hand, some players have been disappointed compared to others. Brian White has been great in hold-up play but is lacking a goal in the MLS. In fact, he is second with big chances missed according to Fotmob. Sergio Cordova has been unable to get up to speed with the team to contribute significantly to the team and now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Sartini will hope his attack starts to shoulder some of the goalscoring burden in MLS play and help the Whitecaps get their first win of the season on Saturday.
If you look at some of the stats for the season so far, you can see how effective he is at what he does.
Compared to other centre midfielders, he is tied for 2nd in tackles p90 (4.5), 1st in shots blocked p90 (1.14), and 3rd in interception p90 (7.37)
Cubas is an animal pic.twitter.com/hNDnI7kKsz
— Felipe Vallejo (@FelipeV_FC) March 22, 2023
Whitecaps Player Availability
The Whitecaps will be without four first-team players on Saturday, with Javain Brown and Andres Cubas on international duty, and Sergio Cordova and Russel Teibert out injured. While the latter seems to be a minor knock, the former is out for six to eight weeks with a hamstring injury. This might be a blessing in disguise as it allows the Venezuelan to settle in with less pressure to perform with the team and adjust to life in Vancouver.
Meanwhile, the real gutting omission is that of Andres Cubas, who has been one of the league’s most underrated performers this season. It will be interesting to see how Sartini adjusts his team and his defensive gameplay to compensate for his absence. The good news is that Deiber Caicedo will be available for selection after training with the first team for the whole week and will hope to pick up that form he had towards the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 before his injury.
“Honestly, happy to be back with the group & it’s a feeling that I’ve been waiting to feel for a really long time.”
— Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) March 22, 2023
Vancouver Whitecaps Predicted Lineup
GK: Yohei Takaoka
RB: Mathias Laborda
CB: Ranko Veselinovic
CB: Tristan Blackmon
LB: Ryan Raposo
DM: Sebastian Berhalter
CM: Julian Gressel
CM: Alessandro Schopf
CF: Ryan Gauld
CF: Cristian Dajome
ST: Brian White
You can catch the Whitecaps face Minnesota United and all their MLS Matches this season on Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass, with select games available on TSN.
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports on February 25, 2023, of Tristan Blackmon’s Headshot.