New York Red Bulls
- Record: 4-4-5, 17 points, fifth place in Eastern Conference (as of Friday, June 19)
- Previous Match: RBNY loss, 4-2 vs. Houston Dynamo
- Record in Last Five Matches: 1-3-1
- Leading Goal Scorer: Bradley Wright-Phillips (5)
- Assist Leader: Bradley Wright-Phillips (4)
- Saves Leader: Luis Robles (27)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- Record: 8-6-2, 26 points, second place in Western Conference (as of Friday, June 19)
- Previous Match: Whitecaps win, 1-0 vs. LA Galaxy
- Record in Last Five Matches: 2-3-0
- Leading Goal Scorer: Octavio Rivero (6)
- Assist Leader: Pedro Morales (4)
- Saves Leader: David Ousted (41)
The Whitecaps have utilized a 4-2-3-1 formation for much of the season. While there have been games where Vancouver hasn’t held the majority of possession, including in the team’s most recent win over the Galaxy, the Whitecaps have been very efficient on both sides of the ball. Goalkeeper David Ousted notched his seventh shutout of the year versus the Galaxy in the franchise’s first ever road win against LA at the StubHub Center. On the attacking side, Vancouver leads MLS in shots and shots on goal. Although they had only one shot on target against the Galaxy, it was enough to take all three points ground on Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders.
The Whitecaps got off to a fast start this season, but haven’t won back-to-back MLS games since they won three consecutive matches spanning from the end of March to the beginning of April. Ousted commands a back line anchored by two big central defenders, Kendall Watson and Pa-Modou Kah. Ousted and the defense have been a large part of Vancouver’s success this season, limiting opponents to less than one goal per game with a 0.94 goals against average through 16 matches.
Players to Watch
For New York, it will be a true battle for forward Bradley Wright-Phillips against a stingy Vancouver defense. Vancouver has surrendered only 14 goals this season, tied for fourth lowest in the league. Wright-Phillips leads the team this year in goals with five, and has already set a new MLS career high for assists with four. Wright-Phillips had a hand two goals in the Open Cup win on Tuesday.
Uruguayan striker Octavio Rivero leads the team in goals and is second in assists. He’s not afraid to strike the ball in any situation and in his first year with Vancouver, Rivero is proving he can be a solidified star in the MLS.
Rivero did well last year for his club team in Chile, scoring an average of .70 goals per game. He has experience with the U-17 Uruguay national team, and remains in the radar of players who can soon make an impact for the country. For now, he’s made an impact in MLS, and has the potential to continue his successful season on Saturday.