VANCOUVER, BC – After their Cascadia Cup-clinching win over Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will look to keep things rolling on Saturday night when they visit San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium.
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT TV: TSN1 RADIO: TSN 1410 MOBILE: bell.ca/mobiletv ONLINE: TSN GO
Here are three storylines to get you set for the match.
It’s coming down to the wire.
After Portland's scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake on Friday night, the ‘Caps and Timbers are now tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with 46 points apiece. Whitecaps FC have a game in hand, however, meaning they still control their own playoff destiny.
Vancouver's magic number is now down to four, meaning any combination of points earned by Whitecaps FC and dropped by the Timbers totalling four would result in a playoff berth for the Blue and White. For example, the 'Caps would be in with a win and draw. Here's each possible scenario:
- If Portland beats FC Dallas in their regular season finale, Whitecaps FC need four points (win and draw) from their final two games draw to qualify.
- If Portland loses to FC Dallas in their regular season finale, Whitecaps FC need one point (draw) from their final two games to qualify.
- If Portland ties FC Dallas in their regular season finale, Whitecaps FC need two points (two draws or a win) from their final two games to qualify.
In the event that Portland and Vancouver finish level on points, the Timbers would advance on goal differential based on the current standings.
GUNNING FOR FOUR
The ‘Caps have yet to win four straight matches since joining MLS in 2011, but they have a chance to do so Saturday night in San Jose.
Since their 3-0 loss to Portland on September 20, Whitecaps FC have won three straight games against teams above them in the standings. They’ve only conceded one goal during that span and have posted back-to-black clean sheets – most recently against first-place Seattle Sounders FC, the second highest scoring team in Major League Soccer.
Not only would a win on Saturday set a new record for Vancouver’s longest win streak, it would also result in the club’s highest point total in MLS, surpassing their 48-point total in 2013.
GOODBYE BUCK SHAW
Saturday will be San Jose’s final match at Buck Shaw Stadium, where they have been playing since 2008. The ‘Caps have actually yet to win at the venue, but Russell Teibert said it’s a statistic the team isn’t thinking about.
“We’re not even looking at that,” Teibert told reporters. “We’re just looking at playing our hardest and having each guy give everything they have. You saw that for yourself last weekend. Every guy put everything they had on the table. We played with heart, we played with desire, and we played to win like we needed to win. And we need to win this weekend. When you have that in the back of your mind, you’re tough to beat.”
One player who’s all too familiar with Buck Shaw Stadium is defender Steven Beitashour, who spent his first three seasons in MLS with San Jose before getting traded to Whitecaps FC in the offseason.
This will be Beitashour’s first game back at Buck Shaw. Early this week, the San Jose native said his ticket requests have already reached triple figures.
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