(Photo credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)
Trying to secure the sixth playoff berth in team history, the Vancouver Whitecaps are locked in a tight race for positioning in the Western Conference.
Sitting in sixth place in the West, the Whitecaps looked nationally by adding Junior Hoilett from the Canadian national team in the hopes of enhancing their playoff chances, and the midfielder could start Saturday's visit to struggling Toronto FC.
The Whitecaps (10-8-8, 38 points) are four points ahead of ninth-place Dallas but sandwiched by one point between Houston, Minnesota and San Jose. Vancouver also trails Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake by two points and second-place Seattle by three.
Vancouver added Hoilett on Thursday right before the league's roster freeze. He has scored 15 goals for Canada's national team and is a possible starter for a Vancouver offense whose 43 goals are the second-most in the West.
"It's good to have this kind of problem," Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini said. "He's an option to start immediately."
Hoilett joins a team that is 2-0-1 in its past three matches and 4-1-1 in its past six since consecutive losses to Sporting Kansas City and Seattle in July. The Whitecaps were unable to get their third straight win and settled for a 1-1 draw at New York City FC on Sept. 2 when Ryan Gauld scored on a penalty kick in the 60th minute.
Toronto (4-13-10, 22 points) is attempting to earn consecutive wins for the since Aug. 6-13, 2022. Toronto stopped an eight-match losing streak and an 11-match winless skid by recording a 3-1 win over visiting Philadelphia on Aug. 30.
Lorenzo Insigne, Deandre Kerr and Jonathan Osorio scored as Toronto netted three goals for the first time since Sept. 4, 2022.
"It's a great feeling and now we just want to keep it going," Kerr said. "We haven't had this feeling in a long time, the fans haven't had this feeling in a long time.
"Now that we have it, you just want to keep it going."
--Field Level Media