Whitecaps FC-Union Preview


The Vancouver Whitecaps might not be as high on the idea of a World Cup break at the moment as some of the other MLS clubs.

Before a 17-day respite, though, they'll have a chance to establish the franchise's longest unbeaten streak since joining MLS in Saturday night's road game against the Philadelphia Union.

The Whitecaps (5-2-5) extended their unbeaten streak to six with Sunday's 4-3 win in Portland, their third victory in four matches.

Pedro Morales converted twice from the penalty spot while Erik Hurtado and Jordan Harvey also scored, with Morales assisting on each to complete his most productive game since joining Vancouver before the season. The Chilean midfielder has five goals and four assists in his last five matches across all competitions.

"Two goals and two assists," coach Carl Robinson said. "(Morales) needs to be a difference maker and he is a difference maker."

Hurtado also has fit that description, having scored in the last four games - his first four starts - including a Canadian Championship match.

Defensively, Robinson again will be without Steven Beitashour, who was selected for Iran's final World Cup roster, and the Vancouver coach thinks his team could be in for another high-scoring 90 minutes.

"Can we put our attacking play on them? And if we do that, they've leaked goals," Robinson told the team's official website. "Having said that, we've leaked goals as well. I seem to be saying this every week but I'm sure there will be a lot of goals in the game."

The Union (3-7-5) are coming off their most lopsided victory of the year Saturday, winning 3-0 at Chivas USA after allowing nine goals in their previous two matches. Conor Casey, who was second on the team with 10 goals a season ago, scored his first two of the year while Cristian Maidana added a goal and an assist.

"Our performances all year have been better than our results show, but you have to get these results in order to get that confidence," coach John Hackworth told the club's official website.

They'll now try to end a five-match home winless streak before a three-week rest.

Sebastien Le Toux, a former Whitecaps winger, could return from a two-game absence due to a back strain to face his former team. He's tied with midfielder Maurice Edu for the team lead with three goals.

"We haven't had the type of start we were hoping for," Le Toux said. "We just need to keep working and get this going in a good direction. We need to work as hard as we possibly can for the fans, for our coaches, for ourselves. It hasn't been easy, but this is the situation we're in."

The four meetings between the two clubs have resulted in three total goals and a 2-1-1 record for the Union. Vancouver hasn't scored in two visits to Philadelphia, resulting in a loss and a draw.

The Union won 1-0 in Vancouver in last season's only meeting as Antoine Hoppenot scored in the 85th minute.