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Major League Soccer
Mar 3, 2024 at 12.30am UK
BC Place Stadium

1 - 1
Charlotte FC

Raposo (45+5')
Cubas (57'), Blackmon (61')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Tavares (31')
Westwood (44'), Tavares (79')

Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Charlotte FC - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Charlotte FC - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Vancouver Whitecaps and Charlotte FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

For the first time in club history, Charlotte FC will visit BC Place Stadium on Saturday for a date with the Vancouver Whitecaps.

It will be the first match of the 2024 MLS campaign for Vancouver, who were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs last year by Los Angeles FC, while the Crown won their opening match of the year, 1-0, over New York City FC.

Match preview

Down the stretch of the 2023 regular season, the Whitecaps were among the most consistent sides in MLS, suffering just three defeats in their final 14 encounters before the playoffs.

Several players on this roster have proven they are among the best at their position, yet as a team, not counting the Canadian Championship, they continuously fall short in big games, exiting the CONCACAF Champions Cup (CCC) earlier this year against Tigres.

In 2023, this side suffered just three defeats under the dome of BC Place Stadium in this competition while winning eight times.

Vanni Sartini will not be on the sidelines for the opening six matches of the regular season after being red-carded for going onto the field to argue an officiating decision in their game two loss versus LAFC (1-0), which knocked them out of the playoffs.

Even without the Italian, we can expect to see a proactive approach from this team throughout the campaign, playing with width and utilising their speedy wingers to try to get in behind opposing defences.

The Caps have not won their opening regular season fixture since 2021, when Marc Dos Santos was in charge, defeating the Portland Timbers 1-0.

Dean Smith began his MLS coaching tenure positively as Charlotte won their opening regular season fixture for the first time in club history.

Dating back to October of last season, the Crown are unbeaten in their last five regular season affairs, failing to concede in four of those outings.

In 2023, Charlotte won just four away matches in this competition, though they ended that regular season by going undefeated in their final two outings outside Bank of America Stadium.

Since their debut MLS campaign in 2022, this side have only won two away matches versus Western Conference opponents, defeating the Houston Dynamo in their debut season (2-1) and coming away with a 1-0 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy a year ago.

The Crown have not been behind in any of their last five regular season affairs dating back to 2023, coming away with at least a point in their previous 11 domestic encounters when netting first.

Their only previous encounter with the Whitecaps yielded a 1-0 result for Charlotte, one of only two victories for them versus Canadian opponents in this competition.

Charlotte FC Major League Soccer form:
  • W

Vancouver Whitecaps Pre-season form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D

Vancouver Whitecaps form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

The Whitecaps will be without Mathias Laborda for this encounter, after he entered the field of play in protest during the 2023 playoffs, in what the league deemed as inciting /escalating a mass confrontation.

Over the off-season, the club signed Damir Kreilach from Real Salt Lake, added Fafa Picault from Nashville SC and brought in some centre-back depth in the form of Bjorn Inge Utvik.

Meanwhile, they said goodbye to Junior Hoilett, who signed with Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, Simon Becher moved to AC Horsens in the Danish second division and Richie Laryea is back with Toronto.

Charlotte were missing several players in their season opener as Bill Tuiloma has soreness in his left thigh, Patrick Agyemang was dealing with pain in his right hip, Tyger Smalls has a bilateral lower leg injury, while the club continues to work on the visa situation of Djibri Diani.

Brandon Cambridge has a right ankle problem, Brandt Bronico continues to have issues with his left thigh and Ben Bender is unlikely to play due to a left knee injury.

Adilson Malanda scored eight minutes into their opening fixture last weekend, while Kristijan Kahlina only had to make two stops for his first clean sheet of the domestic campaign.

Vancouver Whitecaps possible starting lineup:
Takaoka; Blackmon, Veselinovic, Utvik; Brown, Cubas, Schopf, Adekugbe; Gauld; White, Kreilach

Charlotte FC possible starting lineup:
Kahlina; Byrne, Malanda, Privett, Uronen; Westwood, Urso; Vargas, Arfield, Dejaegere; Copetti

We say: Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 Charlotte FC

An already strong Vancouver side added some veteran leadership in Kreilach to compliment arguably the best duo in the league last season in Brian White and Ryan Gauld.

Charlotte could have trouble dealing with the fast pace of the artificial turf and the overall attacking depth that the Whitecaps possess.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Premier League Table

Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami94321914515
2New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls8431117415
3Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia7340149513
4Columbus Crew8341107313
5FC CincinnatiCincinnati833287112
6Atlanta UnitedAtlanta7322127511
7Charlotte FCCharlotte FC832398111
8DC United82421212010
9CF MontrealMontreal73131014-410
11Chicago Fire82331114-39
12New York City FCNY City822479-28
13Orlando City7223813-58
14Nashville SCNashville7142813-57
15New England RevolutionNew England7115513-84

Western Conference

1Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy84311712515
2Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver7412159613
3Houston DynamoHouston741297213
4Real Salt LakeSalt Lake8332118312
5Colorado RapidsColorado83321312112
6Los Angeles FCLos Angeles83231312111
7St Louis City82511211111
8Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd7322109111
9Sporting Kansas CityKansas82421413110
10Portland TimbersPortland8233161609
11Austin FCAustin82331113-29
12Seattle SoundersSeattle71339726
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes81071020-103
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