An enticing season opener awaits us as Vancouver welcomes New York into the BC Place on Saturday, March 8th (4:30 PM Pacific), in a match that puts two former teammates, who also coached together up against the other in the first match of the season, this one should be full of emotion.
The offseason provided the Red Bulls faithful with something they were not accustomed too, very few changes combined with holding on to a large core of the squad. Salary cap issues caused the departure of Holgerson, Espindola, Pearce, and Barklage to name the most important, these departures paved the way for some key arrivals in Harrison. The veteran Eckersley came in from Toronto, Armando the giant CB was brought in from Spain and the signing of three promising rookies highlighted a very productive roster update.
Vancouver’s suffered a major loss when Camilo forced a transfer to Mexican side Querétaro, this was after contract disputes left the player in a strange position. Other than this departure, the aquscition of Pedro Morales, and a few relatively low-key moves Vancouver kept a large part of its core together, which should help first year manager Carl Robinson.
Vancouver lost last season’s golden boot winner in Camilo, and 22 goals over the course of a season will be difficult to replace. Kenny Miller remains, but the legs on the 34 combined with his performance last year does little to ease the pain on fans. Darren Mattocks, who believes he’s the best player in the league; however, his three league goals last season prove that maturity is necessary in order to become a threatening striker. The youngster will need to step up this year if they are to have any success.
The salary cap has hurt the Red Bulls for years, Kenny Cooper left New York because his contract would have been too much for management to take on, Espindola also departed and joined DC. Thierry Henry is left without a true strike partner once again; Wright-Phillips has yet to gel with the Frenchman, Luyindula will be deployed as an attacking midfielder and Akpan simply does not have the quality to start.
Whitecaps vs Red Bulls Prediction
This should be a very evenly fought match, a midfield battle should be expected between two teams that are stil adapting to a new roster filled with fresh faces. Vancouver 1-1 New York.
Whitecaps vs Red Bulls Television Info
The match will be televised on MLS Live and MLS Direct Kick.