Thursday, July 25, 2024

Vancouver Whitecaps v St. Louis City: Sartini calls for courage in Canada

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Jun 2024

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A defiant Vanni Sartini believes Vancouver Whitecaps are on the right track, but called for more confidence and courage when St. Louis City visit in MLS.

The Whitecaps endured a disappointing two-game road stretch, culminating in their 2-0 defeat to Portland Timbers last time out.

That loss saw Vancouver drop to ninth in the Western Conference standings, only clinging onto the final playoff spot by way of a superior goal difference over Seattle Sounders.

Sartini acknowledged the frustrations of the last two showings, though suggests the Whitecaps can get back on course at BC Place.

“The concerns are always there, even if you win,” Sartini said at pre-match media availability.

“It sounds very easy to say, but we just need to be a little better. That means a lot of things, however. Our performance hasn’t gone down dramatically.

“The efficiency of our performances has gone down dramatically, though. We need to be better at finishing our chances, and being mentally stronger.

“The last couple of games before the break, we had two strong mental performances [in Kansas and Colorado]. Even though we weren’t playing amazingly, we weren’t making mistakes.

“The last two games away, we created more chances than in the games before, but we have been too easy to beat, we get a little flat when we hit the first trouble of those matches.

“We need to be more confident, courageous and more like: ‘let’s focus on the task’. If we are doing this, then the margin to make a lot of points is shorter.”

Bradley Carnell’s visitors are winless in their last eight domestic outings following a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United in their most recent fixture.

St. Louis are just three places behind the Whitecaps, though, with this the chance to strike a blow to their hosts’ playoff hopes.

Carnell must arrest a poor spell in front of goal, however, as St. Louis have scored the second-fewest goals in the West this season (24).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Vancouver Whitecaps – Ryan Gauld

Ryan Gauld has followed up his 11-goal 2023 with nine goals already this season.

With one more goal, Gauld will become the third Whitecaps player with multiple 10-goal seasons (Camilo Sanvezzo, Brian White) and the first to do so in consecutive campaigns.

St. Louis City – Indiana Vassilev

Indiana Vassilev scored his fifth regular-season goal for St. Louis on Saturday, becoming the sixth different player to hit the mark for the club in league play.

Only three teams have more players with five or more regular-season goals than St. Louis since they joined the league in 2023 (Real Salt Lake, Minnesota United, FC Cincinnati – seven each).

MATCH PREDICTION – VANCOUVER WHITECAPS WIN

The Whitecaps are the likely favourites for a narrow victory in this one, owing to St. Louis’ woeful away form.

Carnell’s side have managed only three wins in 26 games on the road in all competitions (drawn eight, lost 15) since winning their first three away matches in club history between February and March 2023.

Yet, it will be by no means straightforward for Vancouver.

They have lost consecutive matches following the defeat to Portland on Saturday, but Vancouver have not suffered three straight defeats within a single regular season since August-September 2022.

There is little to split these two teams in terms of the head-to-head record, with each side recording a home win against the other in two meetings between Vancouver and St. Louis City last season.

The hosts scored three goals in each game, while Brian White scored in both outings for the Whitecaps.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Vancouver Whitecaps win – 51.1%

Draw – 24.8%

St. Louis City win – 24%

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.

You can follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/soccernews.com or Twitter: @soccernewsfeed.

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