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Canadian MLS update: Whitecaps get a boost on the road

It’s been a mixed campaign for the three Canadian sides in MLS, but the trio can all take positives from the last week of action.

There were two rounds of MLS action in quick succession over the last week. 

The three sides north of the border can be pleased with their progress, especially Montreal and the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are a step closer to the postseason.

Whitecaps find success on the road

After a poor return away from home this term, Vancouver Whitecaps took two wins from two in their recent trips to move into fifth in the Western Conference. 

The Whitecaps won 3-2 at Portland Timbers before a 1-0 victory at Chicago Fire. 

Having won just once on their travels before this, it’s fair to say that Vancouver had to return happy after those two victories.

With nine games left to play, it’s still not clear how the Whitecaps’ campaign will shake out. 

Despite their recent successes, they’re at a crossroads following those two wins. The side have moved within three points of second in the West, but they’re also just two clear of eighth-placed San Jose Earthquakes.

If they can maintain this turnaround on the road, then the Whitecaps have every chance to kick on and secure a great seeding in the West. 

With six of their final nine games on the road, there’s no better time for them to find their feet on their travels.

A big part of their two victories fell to their two top scorers, with Brian White and Ryan Gauld now on 10 and nine goals for the campaign respectively. 

The pair had scored just three times between them on the road before those two wins, so seeing the pair each score twice in those away wins is a positive sign.

Montreal set up for run-in

Montreal split their two games this week, but that’s to be expected when you look at their campaign as a whole. 

They’re eighth in the Eastern Conference having won 11 of 26 games, but only three teams in the East have picked up fewer points on the road.

Montreal lost once again on their travels, going down 2-0 at New York City on Wednesday. 

That tainted their weekend 1-0 win over New England, while it’s left them on the fringes of the playoff chase.

Montreal are four points shy of the top seven, which brings an automatic place in the postseason. As it stands, they’d meet Chicago Fire in the Wild Card Round for a place in Round One of the MLS Cup playoffs.

However, when you look at their run-in, there’s every chance of a strong finish from here. 

Montreal play at home in five of their remaining eight regular season games, giving them the chance to close the gap to Nashville in seventh.

Montreal have won nine of 12 home games this term, putting together a brilliant defensive record. 

They’ve conceded just five times on their own patch, with another win to nil coming against New England Revolution last time out. They restricted the visitors to very few chances, which sets them up well for the run-in.

However, a 2-0 loss at a New York City side who sit 13th in the East is a concern. 

Montreal will likely be on the road in Round One and their poor return on their travels doesn’t bode well for a playoff run.

Boost for Toronto as they look to the future

Toronto FC split their two games over the last week, which is a positive for a side who had won just three of their first 25. 

While they lost 2-0 at Columbus Crew in their game last weekend, they followed that up with an impressive 3-1 victory at home to Philadelphia Union.

Both Lorenzo Insigne and Jonathan Osorio found the net in that win, so it looks like Toronto’s talented squad is finally starting to get it together.

However, it seems it is too late for a Toronto turnaround. 

They are bottom of the Eastern Conference, 10 points shy of the top nine. They’ve got little time left to turn things around and it looks like the club is shifting their focus to the future.

A move for John Herdman was confirmed ahead of the Philadelphia game, but the Canadian national team boss won’t take charge until October 1. 

Toronto will have just four games remaining when he assumes control, so it looks like Canada’s only MLS Cup winner is turning focus towards 2024 already. 

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