Whitecaps FC-Crew Preview

The Associated Press

The Vancouver Whitecaps have gotten on track offensively, a trend they hope continues Saturday night as they go for their first road victory in a matchup with a Columbus Crew squad that's on the verge of its longest winless drought in five years.

The Whitecaps ended an 0-2-2 stretch last Saturday with a 3-2 victory against San Jose. They've tallied seven goals over the last three games after scoring four times in their previous five.

Kekuta Manneh put them ahead in the 10th minute and Pedro Morales scored in the 19th and 20th, with Manneh assisting on the final goal.

Vancouver (3-2-4) nearly matched its four-goal total from its opener, but Gershon Koffie's goal in the 81st was disallowed as he was called for a hand ball.

Coach Carl Robinson, though, wasn't entirely pleased with the performance as his club surrendered two goals to Chris Wondolowski, including one in stoppage time.

"I think the first 30 minutes we were absolutely sensational and we scored three goals which is always nice, but we also had a number of other good chances as well," Robinson told the league's official website. "Then we started to take too many touches and we didn't need to and then obviously letting them back up before halftime, that made it interesting the second half."

The Whitecaps lost 2-1 at Toronto on Wednesday night in the first leg of a Canadian Championship semifinal. Manneh scored again for his third goal in four matches in all competitions.

The Crew started the season in torrid fashion, outscoring opponents 7-2 over three straight victories. However, they've since been outscored 8-3 while going 0-3-3 in their first six-match winless stretch since Aug. 27-Sept. 28, 2011. They haven't gone without a victory in seven straight since opening the 2009 season 0-2-5.

After a 1-0 loss at Houston on Wednesday, Columbus (3-3-3) is looking to avoid being shut out for a third straight regular-season game for the first time since a four-match drought May 17-June 7, 2008. The Crew haven't scored in 231 minutes.

"We've got to be hungry, we've got to want it, we've got to need it. That's something we have been working on," forward Dominic Oduro said. "It's a little bit hard when you have teams again sitting a little bit back just waiting to counter you, but it's something we need to try and find a way to penetrate behind defenses."

Columbus could get a boost from the return of midfielder Wil Trapp, who served a one-game suspension Wednesday. Trapp is tied for the team lead with two assists.

The Whitecaps will likely be without forward Darren Mattocks, who has started every match, after he left at the 30-minute mark against San Jose with a hamstring injury. They'll also be missing Kenny Miller after terminating his contract Sunday.

Miller and Mattocks have combined for five of the team's 15 goals.

Vancouver dropped the series' first two matches but has since won two in a row, including 2-1 at home in last season's lone meeting March 9.

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