Thu, 30 Jun 2022

Whitecaps seeking road breakthrough at Charlotte

Field Level Media
22 May 2022, 04:55 GMT+10

If the Vancouver Whitecaps are to be serious contenders, doing something about their road record will be required.

The next chance for that comes against a team with a strong series of home results when Vancouver takes on Charlotte FC on Sunday in North Carolina.

Vancouver (3-6-2, 11 points) is last in the Western Conference. Charlotte (4-7-1, 13 points) has work to do in its inaugural season.

"Now we really, really, really have to switch gears," Vancouver coach Vanni Sartini said after going unbeaten in a three-game homestand.

Sartini was referencing the 0-5-0 road record. This marks Vancouver's first road match since April 23.

Charlotte is 4-2-0 in home games, though a four-game winning streak on home turf ended with last Saturday's 2-0 loss to Montreal in the team's most recent game.

Now it's an opportunity for Whitecaps forward Lucas Cavallini to build on his latest notable accomplishment. His game-winning penalty kick in second-half stoppage time gave Vancouver a 2-1 victory against Dallas on Wednesday.

Vancouver is also hoping for more production from forward Brian White, who scored just his second goal of the season Wednesday.

"We know what kind of player he is," Sartini said. "He doesn't score fantastic goals, but he's in the right space at the right time."

Vancouver is in a bit of a bind with its roster. Goalkeepers Isaac Boehmer and Cody Cropper and midfielder Pedro Vite are in the MLS health and safety protocols and won't be available for the game.

In addition, starting goalkeeper Thomas Hasal is out with a middle finger injury on his left hand, leaving the club with nobody to start in goal.

The Whitecaps received a break Friday night when York United of the Canadian Premier League agreed to a short-term loan involving goalkeeper Niko Giantsopoulos. The MLS approved the transaction under the league's extreme hardship policies.

Giantsopoulos, 27, played Friday night for York United and will join the Whitecaps in North Carolina. The loan expires on Monday.

Meanwhile, Charlotte is trying to build more consistency. It's not so much a matter of strategy as it is determination and approach.

"It's the attitude," midfielder Sergio Ruiz said. "It's the commitment to the team and the idea that the coach gives us."

Only forward Karol Swiderski with four goals has more than one goal this season among Charlotte players. He has gone seven games without a goal or assist.

Ruiz said there's enough talent on the roster for Charlotte to make a difference in the standings. The team is 1-3-1 in its last five games.

"We are waiting this week to win to get back on track," he said. "We need to win against Vancouver."

--Field Level Media

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