They say Red Bull gives you wings but the Vancouver Whitecaps found their wings because they stuck to head coach Vanni Sartini’s plan.

The plan involved defensive structure, forcing turnovers with the press, quick clearances and quick transitions. There was no need for an energy drink. Speaking of Red Bull, the New York Red Bulls who of course, are owned by the same company that owns those drinks are next.

The Whitecaps are coming off a big 2-0 win away to the Seattle Sounders and look to spread their wings even further.

The Red Bulls are also flying

Like the Whitecaps, the Red Bulls are off to a good start. They also have 16 points and have a 4-4-1 record. Their last game was a 2-2 away draw to LAFC.

Lewis Morgan leads them in goals with six and is in a four-way tie for third in the league. He is tied with Dejan Jovelic of LA Galaxy, DC United’s Christian Benteke and Inter Miami’s Luis Suarez.

Emil Forsberg was their biggest signing of the offseason. The former Malmo and Red Bull Leipzig attacking midfielder has been a key part of their team. He is excellent at passing, crossing, dribbling around defenders and possesses a solid shot.

First-year head coach Sandro Schwarz has the Red Bulls playing a high-pressing, high intensity game. They are a team that likes to have possession with the ball but at the same time, manage to remain defensively compact.

A tough test

“Saturday is going to be hard,” said Sartini to the media on Wednesday. “It’s kind of like going to the casino when you play the eastern teams because you never know. You find a team that is last place or first place but you don’t play every team. This season the Red Bulls are doing very well. They are a team that has a very peculiar style of play like we do. So I think it needs to be a game where we are very, very intense. I think that’s what they are, they are very intense in pressing, counter-pressing and the counter-attack. We need to very well organized.”

“I think it’s going to be a game that will be decided at the end of the second half. It’s going to be a tight game.”

“They are a really good sign and a tough team to beat,” said Whitecaps captain Ryan Gauld on the Red Bulls on Wednesday. “I think they have one of the best defences in the league. It’s going to be a tough game and one we’ll have to be our best at.”

Like the game against the LA Galaxy a couple of weeks ago, this will be a big test for the Whitecaps. It will be another test to see if they can go toe to toe with the best teams in MLS and if they belong in that category too.

Brian White is on the verge of Whitecaps history

The game this Saturday will be a special one for striker Brian White. White spent 2015 to 2017 with the Red Bulls Under 23 team. In 2018, they drafted him in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft with the 16th overall pick. The former Duke University Blue Devil spent three more years with the Red Bulls organization. White got traded to Vancouver on June 2, 2021, for $400,00 in General Allocation Money and a possible additional $100,000 in conditional GAM.

Of course, since he came to the Whitecaps, White has scored plenty of goals and has become their main man up front. White has scored 43 goals as a Whitecap in all competitions and has tied Camilo Sanvezzo for the most in their MLS era.

This Saturday, White can break the club record for goals in his return to Red Bull Arena in front of a ton of family and friends.

“It’s really nice to come into a club and put my name up there with the great players that come through the club,” said White on Wednesday. “Having the goal-scoring record for the MLS era is a big honour [and] I hope can do it this weekend.”

“I got a lot of people going, a lot of family, a lot of friends. I still have a few friends who are at the club so it would be nice to see them again. Like I said, my family had a tough time with the time change so they are really excited to see me live and worry about not having to fall asleep.”

It is clear that White is extra hungry to not only break the record and score against his old club but to help his team get three more points.

The last time the Whitecaps and Red Bulls met was on May 22, 2019. Guess who was one of the Red Bulls goalscorers in the 2-2 draw?… Brian White.

Kickoff is at 4:30 pm Pacific.