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  • Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps at D.C. United


    The Vancouver Whitecaps are preparing to take on D.C. United in America’s capital tomorrow, as they look to build on last week’s 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire.

    It’s the first time the Whitecaps will play since the club announced that Carolina RailHawks coach Martin Rennie will be taking the helm next season.


    While the players have been saying all the right things to reporters throughout the week about maintaining effort levels under interim coach Tom Soehn, it will be interesting to see how that knowledge impacts the team’s on-field performance in a game situation.

    There are a couple of factors that could aid the ‘Caps before a ball is even kicked, however, as D.C. must function without head coach Ben Olsen on the touchline. The former American international will be sitting in the stands after his outburst against Toronto FC during their 3-3 classic last weekend.

    There’s also the matter of D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s red card from last week, which means United will have to play with one of Steve Cronin or rookie Joe Willis. Cronin would normally be the obvious choice, but his shaky performance after replacing Hamid last weekend means there’s some doubt about who will get the nod between the sticks.

    One clear advantage United will have is the form of Dwayne De Rosario. The Canadian international is in electric form, having scored five goals in his last two matches for the club, most recently scoring a hat-trick against Toronto FC last weekend, and there's no individual in the league right now who is anywhere close to as potent.

    As for personal storylines, Tom Soehn is returning to the club he led to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Supporters Shield trophy glory in a three-year spell as head coach. He’ll be looking to pull one over his old player Ben Olsen (though he will be suspended) and Chad Ashon, his former assistant.

    Another Whitecap with connections to the club is goalkeeper Jay Nolly, who made a winning return to the lineup after being frozen out by Soehn following former coach Teitur Thordarson’s dismissal.

    “It would be great [to win in Washington],” Nolly told Canadian Soccer News after training earlier this week. “It was a good year for me, it was a great learning experience. I didn’t play much but I learned a lot. To come back a little bit wiser and hopefully get a start, hopefully we can keep this good feeling going.”

    On the injury front, Alain Rochat did not travel with the team, meaning some sort of change at the back is likely to take place. Jay DeMerit could come in as a straight swap after playing 45 minutes in a 2-1 reserve league victory over the Seattle Sounders reserves, but it is unlikely he will last the full 90.

    Mustapha Jarju has joined his teammates in D.C. after a 3-0 victory over the Democratic Republic of the Congo in an international friendly on Wednesday, but given his travel and lack of match fitness it’s a good bet he’ll start on the bench and come on at some point in the second half.


    Martin MacMahon is a broadcast journalism student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for a number of soccer websites.

    Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon

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