Thursday, May 23, 2024

Vancouver Whitecaps v Austin FC: Sartini hails ´special´ White ahead of enticing BC Place meeting

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 May 2024

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Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini labelled Brian White as a “special” player ahead of Sunday’s enticing MLS meeting with Austin FC at BC Place.

The Whitecaps are third in the Western Conference after a 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls last time out, completing a fine April that saw them lose just one of four matches.

Whitecaps forward White scored in that draw and may get somewhat of a hero’s welcome at a packed-out BC Place after becoming Vancouver’s all-time leading scorer.

“I’m really happy he could make history here at home in front of his family, in front of his friends,” Sartini said of White, who moved past Camilo Sanvezzo as the club’s all-time leading scorer.

“It adds a special, special flair to that, so I’m really happy for him.

“He’s a player so committed that it doesn’t matter if he misses a goal, or he scores the first goal, or if he misses the first touch because he’s going to adjust.”

Sartini even suggested his coaching has improved White, albeit in a playful manner.

“I think he scored 99% of the goals with me as a coach, so I can even tell that maybe that it’s [to] my credit,” he joked. “Because I put him in the right position.”

Austin are just two points but four places behind Vancouver in the West after winning four of their last five outings, having swept aside LA Galaxy 2-0 in their last match.

Verde and Black head coach Josh Wolff is not getting overly excited with that form, though.

“It’s 10 games into the season so we don’t get carried away,” Wolff said. “When you guys [the media] are slaughtering us earlier this year, I don’t get too bummed out.

“You guys do what you do. You got to pump out headlines and you got to get readers, I understand it. Whether I agree with that or not, that’s what you guys choose to do.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vancouver Whitecaps – Brian White

With a goal against the Red Bulls on Saturday, White has contributed to at least one goal in six straight matches, the longest streak by a Whitecaps player in the club’s MLS history.

The 28-year-old has found the net – or assisted – in every game since failing to do so against San Jose Earthquakes on March 10, with the Whitecaps reaping the rewards from their star forward.

Austin FC – Brad Stuver

Austin have kept clean sheets in two straight matches for only the second time in club history, also doing so in June-July 2023.

Austin kept just one clean sheet in the 25 matches in all competitions between the two streaks and their upturn in form should be somewhat credited to goalkeeper Brad Stuver, who continues to impress.

MATCH PREDICTION – VANCOUVER WHITECAPS WIN

The Whitecaps are the heavy favourites for this one, having won four of their six meetings with Austin FC (D1 L1), including recording victories in all three meetings between the sides at BC Place.

Vancouver have also equalled their best nine-match start in club history with 17 points, yet the Whitecaps have never reached the 20-point mark within their first 10 games of an MLS season.

It will be far from a routine victory, though, as Austin have won four of their last five matches (L1) following a 2-0 win over the Galaxy, including the last two in a row.

Austin have had only one winning streak longer than two games in all competitions in club history, a four-match run in June-July 2022 – but that could come to an end here.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Vancouver Whitecaps win – 46.7%

Austin FC win – 27.2%

Draw – 26.1%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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