We were looking for an insider's perspective on Vancouver Whitecaps. Bartosz Wysocki of Eighty Six Forever was more than happy to oblige, answering our questions about what we can expect from a team that was beaten 4-0 last weekend.
1) Are the Whitecaps still licking their wounds after a 4-0 loss to D.C. United, or will they be ready for a good fight on Saturday?
I think there's nothing like a good spanking to wake up a slumping team (at least I pray that that will be the case). The Whitecaps have been getting lucky results with unimpressive play, and the nightmare at D.C. should hopefully serve as a sign to coach Carl Robinson that major changes need to be made. With the return of Morales and Laba into the lineup, Vancouver should pose a bigger challenge to RSL than the embarrassing display they showed last week.
2) There wasn't a lot of talk about big changes in Vancouver during the offseason — but what tweaks and changes have been made to make you more competitive?
Well, there have been tweaks and changes made in the off season, but whether they have been effective is a whole other story. The departure of our right back Steven Beitashour was a huge loss. The replacement Fraser Aird, though perhaps someone who can be a good defender in the future, has yet to rise to Steven's level, and that has shown in some of the results we've gotten.
Up front, the signing's of Masato Kudo and Blas Perez were supposed to help improve Vancouver's offence, but the fact that a forward has yet to score a goal for Vancouver this year shows that has yet to happen. Hopefully they will start contributing soon, since it seems that the off season signings are not the nuggets of gold we thought they would be.
3) Is there any sense that you're simply underperforming early in the season, or are there real problems with the team that need to be solved?
I think we've reached the stage where it's clear that there are problems with the way that Vancouver's foundation is built. Our points this year have come from two wins and a draw. In both wins our only goals were penalties, and the draw we had against the Galaxy was a purely defensive effort, where we got a red early and hunkered down to preserve a 0-0 draw.
What we've seen is that in the early batch of games is that our defense has been easily penetrated on all fronts, and our forwards have yet to show up. After seven games, it's not a case of under performing; it's a serious structural problem. However, with there being 28 games left in the season there's time to change the way the team is playing, and hopefully that starts this weekend at Rio Tinto stadium.
Predicted Lineup: Ousted; Aird, Waston, Parker, Harvey; Laba, Jacobson; Techera, Morales, Bolanos; Riveiro