With the Montreal Impact opening the 2016 MLS season in Vancouver on Sunday evening, Mount Royal Soccer has turned towards our friends at Eighty Six Forever to get some insight. With no Didier Drogba in the lineup for the Impact - leaving British Columbia with the three points will be a tough task.
What to Watch For:
1) What formation do you expect the Whitecaps to come out with on Sunday? Will we see a team that is looking to attack right off the bat?
I would expect to see the 4-1-4-1. It's a formation the Whitecaps utilized in the pre-season, and allows them to get a lot of their best attacking players on the pitch at the same time. To answer your question, I absolutely believe the Whitecaps will be coming out with an 'attack right off the bat' style of play. While the Whitecaps were lauded last season for their defensive strengths, the additions in the off-season have injected some talent into the attacking position. With players like Masato Kudo, Christian Bolanos and Blas Perez joining Octavio Rivero, Pedro Morales and Cristian Techera, the Whitecaps are suddenly scary on offense, at least on paper.
2) What new faces could factor into the Vancouver starting XI ? Are these new faces expected to play a major role in 2016 for the Whitecaps?
Big things are expected out of new midfielders Christian Bolanos and Masato Kudo, as well as veteran striker Blas Perez, as the Whitecaps look to improve from their 2015 pop-gun offence. On the backline, Fraser Aird has been tasked to fill the boots of the departed Steven Beitashour, and that's no small feat. For the Whitecaps to have success this season, they'll need healthy contributions from their shiny new acquisitions.
3) Who do you see being the Whitecaps player of the game after 90 minutes on opening weekend?
I certainly hope it's Pedro Morales. If Morales can return to his 2014 form, and prove that 2015 was simply the result of injury, the Whitecaps will be a lethal squad. Morales is the maestro in the midfield, the play maker that stirs the drink. Frankly, he's expected to be their best player on most nights.