Eugene Rupinski, Brotherly Game) The Whitecaps added a ton of talent during the offseason - Fredy Montero and Brek Shea among the names. Who do you think makes the biggest impact this season and why?
Jon Szekeres, 86 Forever) I think Montero was the most important signing. The Whitecaps have been desperately searching for a dependable striker since Camilo left, and Montero comes with an impressive MLS resume. The Whitecaps boast a strong defensive roster at the moment; Matías Laba is an elite defensive midfielder, the backline is solid and David Ousted is one of the best keepers in the business. If the Whitecaps can get a double digit goal total from Montero, they're going to be a very dangerous team.
tBG) Vancouver has three ex-Philadelphia Union players on the club in Jordan Harvey, Andrew Jacobson, and Sheanon Williams. How do each of these guys figure in to Carl Robinson's plans?
JS) Andrew Jacobson has been a great fit for the Whitecaps because of his versatility. He's played wherever Carl Robinson has needed him, including center back, and has always been a dependable, go-to-guy in the lineup. Williams was an important addition for the Whitecaps in the off-season, as the club struggled mightily at the right back spot in 2016. Williams, an MLS veteran, has been brought in to stabilize the position. Finally, Jordan Harvey was named the Team MVP last season because of his consistency at the left back spot. Harvey has always been an underrated member of the Whitecaps, and he was indispensable when the Whitecaps backline started struggling last year.
tBG) Vancouver is hosting the New York Red Bulls on Thursday. What effect will this have on the players, and will Vancouver be putting their best eleven on the pitch for both matches?
JS) Carl Robinson has made it clear he intends to compete in Champions League, and the Whitecaps have had an entire off-season to rest. I wouldn't be surprised in the least to see him trot out his best eleven for both matches.
Injuries: Christian Bolanos, Yordy Reyna, Nicolas Mezquida
Suspended: Kendall Waston
Projected 11: David Ousted; Sheanon Williams, Christian Dean, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert; Kekuta Manneh, Andrew Jacobson, Cristian Techera; Fredy Montero (4-2-3-1)