Knighton Expected to Get Third Start
Vancouver’s 27-year-old undrafted keeper Brad Knighton is expected make his third consecutive start Sunday at BC Place Stadium as the Vancouver Whitecaps host the Colorado Rapids. Vancouver has yet to make the decision official, but Knighton has performed well in his last two starts – both losses. The Whitecaps dropped a 2-0 decision to the L.A. Galaxy and then lost 1-0 to FC Dallas, their fifth consecutive defeat. “I think when you give someone a chance, you want to give them a reasonable run at it, so I think he’s earned that,” Whitecaps coach Martin Rennie told reporters about Knighton starting Sunday.
Playoff Berth in the Balance
The Whitecaps currently sit in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings, one point ahead of FC Dallas with five games remaining on their schedule. Knighton has already made an impression in the club’s last two games – all three goals he conceded were of the highlight variety. He turned away a David Ferreira penalty in the second half against Dallas and then managed to push a dangerous strike from Brek Shea over the crossbar. Julian de Guzman was the only man to beat Knighton last weekend, rifling a drive past him in injury time of the second half. “I’m at a loss for words right now,” Knighton told reporters in the locker room afterward. “It’s a tough one to swallow. It’s got to make us stronger. We’ve got to come together as a group.”
Veteran Keeper Looks On
While Knighton is running with this chance to start in goal, 37-year-old Joe Cannon is left to watch from the sidelines. Cannon has played 15 years in the MLS and has eight clean sheets on his resume this season. However, he gave up a terrible goal on Aug. 25 in Vancouver’s loss the Portland Timbers, who sit as the second worst team in the West. Since then, Knighton has been Vancouver’s man.
Vancouver Attack Needs a Boost
As Vancouver’s goalkeeping decision steals a lot of this week’s headlines, it overshadows the offence’s poor showing. The Whitecaps have scored just once over their five-game skid, in the 2-1 loss to Portland. Vancouver has just 29 goals on the season (second worst in the West) and has a -9 goal differential heading into Sunday’s match.
Home Sweet Home
The Whitecaps will have lots of support as they head down this final push for the playoffs. They play four of their remaining five games at BC Place Stadium, where they are 7-2-4 this season. Dallas plays three of its final four games on the road.
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