PREVIEW – The Vancouver Whitecaps host CF Montreal on Saturday, marking their first Canadian derby of the year. Both teams have been on mixed form, with both teams only securing three points from a possible 15. Saturday will be another chance for the Whitecaps to get their first win of the season, with the added relish of doing it against a Canadian rival.
West vs East: Whitecaps vs CF Montreal Predictions for April 1
Whitecaps’ Recent Run of Form
While the Whitecaps are unbeaten in their last three games, they have yet to win a match in MLS this season. Last game they faced a rotated Minnesota squad at Allianz Field, and only managed to squeeze a point at the death. A late 98-minute goal courtesy of the young Simon Becher allowed the Whitecaps to split the honours even against Minnesota. Looking at the stats, Whitecaps dominated Minnesota. They had 63% possession to Minnesota’s 37% and outshot them with 23 shots (five on target) to their eight shots (two on target).
Most notable was the fact that they had an xG of 2.04, yet relied on that last-minute goal to get on the scoresheet. Much of that has to do with the lack of goalscoring from the forward players. Brian White had an overall excellent match for the Whitecaps up until the time to score. His hold-up play and passing were top caliber, but he looked nervy in front of the net. With only one goal scored so far by an attacking player in MLS (that Simon Becher last-gasp equalizer), Head Coach Vanni Sartini recognizes the pressures that the forward line is facing ahead of this match:
“It’s normal that they themselves feel a little bit of pressure. The thing is that they shouldn’t, because everyone needs to feel the moral obligation to do everything for the team. The only thing that is important is to get the three points.”
One thing is true: Whether or not the attack scores, what will matter most to Whitecaps fans will be the result, especially against a team like CF Montreal.
Simon Becher is the first forward to score for the Whitecaps in MLS this season…
Ahead of White, Cordova, Dajome, Vite and Gauld#VWFC
— Felipe Vallejo (@FelipeV_FC) March 26, 2023
CF Montreal Recent Run of Form
Arguably, Montreal has had a more tumultuous run of form than the Whitecaps. They lost their first three games, conceding five goals and scoring none. However, they shocked the world by winning their last game against MLS Cup Finalists Philadelphia Union 3-2 at home, with another last-gasp goal from Romell Quioto sealing the win. For a team that has not scored one goal in three games, to score three goals in one game is certainly an improvement. What’s remarkable is that Montreal was trailing 2-1 for 90 minutes, before a 90-minute goal from Chinoso Offor equalized, and Quioto got his second of the match at the death.
The win will evidently spur the team on to try to get better results, with their first test of whether they have truly turned a new leaf being the game against the Whitecaps on Saturday. However, they are yet to score a goal away from home and will look to end that drought when they visit at BC Place.
— Leagues Cup (@LeaguesCup) March 21, 2023
In their last 15 matches, honours are even between Whitecaps and CF Montreal, as they have both won seven matches each and drawn one. Their last meeting was a 2-1 victory for Montreal over the Whitecaps at home in April of last year, with goals from Quioto and the now-departed Mihailovic for Montreal.
Tosaint Ricketts had a late equalizer ruled out in that match as well. Meanwhile, the fixture before in May of 2021 yielded reverse fortunes, as Montreal was defeated by the Whitecaps by two goals to nil at BC Place, thanks to a Cristian Dajome double. The last time that Montreal beat Whitecaps at BC Place was in September of 2020 when Montreal defeated the ‘Caps by four goals to two in an instant classic. Montreal was 4-1 up by the 60th minute, in what was a true rousing by the French-Canadian team.
However, since then, the Whitecaps have scored six goals and only conceded three. This is also the first time that CF Montreal head coach Hernan Losada faces Vanni Sartini’s Whitecaps, having previously managed D.C. United played no games against Vancouver in his tenure. Sartini has only faced Montreal in MLS twice so far in his career at Whitecaps, losing one and winning one.
— x – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (@WhitecapsFC) April 16, 2022
Given the form of both teams, as well as results in recent history, it will be a tightly-contested match. The Whitecaps will hope to have their star forward line to end their drought and claim all three points in this match, while Montreal will look to build off their impressive upset victory over Philly. However, with the match taking place at BC Place, a place where the Whitecaps have not given up points to Montreal in over three years, it will likely result in the Whitecaps taking their first win of the season with a narrow 2-1 victory.
You can watch this match on Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass this Saturday at 7:30 pm PST/10:30 pm EST, as well as all other Whitecaps and Montreal matches this MLS season.
Photo Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports on April 16, 2022, of Tristan Blackmon’s Headshot.