Whitecaps FC to debut in MLS versus Canadian rival Toronto FC

'Caps host Reds at Empire Field on March 19, 2011

VANCOUVER BC – Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced Vancouver Whitecaps FC will kick off their inaugural MLS season on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at Empire Field against their Canadian MLS rival, Toronto FC (TFC).

“March 19, 2011, will be a historic day for our club and our fans. In just 90 days, we’ll be facing off against our Canadian rivals TFC and write the opening chapter for our club’s MLS journey,” stated Bob Lenarduzzi, president, Vancouver Whitecaps FC. “Our cities have a history of passionate rivalries, and I know without a doubt our fans and our players are looking forward to meeting our Eastern Canadian counterparts on the pitch and taking our rivalry to a new level. As the club fast approaches its initial season ticket sales cap of 16,500, fans will need to act now to ensure they’re able to be a part of this historic moment.”

Throughout the years, the Blue & White have played seven different Toronto-based clubs in Canadian professional soccer history posting an all-time record of 34W-23L-10D. Whitecaps FC also hold a favourable all-time home record against teams from Canada's largest city, having amassed 23 wins, six defeats, and six draws between 1975 and 2010. TFC were 9W-13L-8D during the 2010 MLS regular season and have compiled a MLS regular season record of 34W-54L-32D during their first four seasons.

At the North American second division level, Whitecaps FC have battled Toronto FC six times in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship, posting a winning record of 2W-1L-3D and a home record of 1W-0L-2D. Toronto FC are the reigning two-time Voyageurs Cup winners, having won the title in 2009 and 2010.

MLS also confirmed today that all 18 clubs will take the field during the opening “First Kick” week as they embark on a 34-match, balanced regular season in which every club will face each of the other 17 teams twice – once at home, once on the road. Ten teams will qualify for the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Following the opening week, on Saturday, March 26, Whitecaps FC will play their first MLS regular season road match when the travel to PPL Park to face second-year club Philadelphia Union. Last year the Union posted a regular season record of 8-15-7.

The schedule for all 18 home openers is below. Kickoff times, additional matches, and national television broadcasts will be announced at a later date. The entire 2011 MLS regular season schedule will be released by early February.

Home club listed first, in bold; All times Pacific
Schedule subject to change:

Tuesday, March 15
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, March 19
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Toronto FC, time TBD
D.C. United vs. Columbus Crew, 4:30 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 4:30 p.m.
FC Dallas vs. Chicago Fire, 5:30 p.m.
Houston Dynamo vs. Philadelphia Union, 5:30 p.m.
Colorado Rapids vs. Portland Timbers, 6 p.m.
Chivas USA vs. Sporting Kansas City, 7:30 p.m.
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 20
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New England Revolution, 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 26
Chicago Fire vs. Sporting Kansas City, 1 p.m.
Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls, 1 p.m.
Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 1 p.m.
Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers, time TBD
New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, time TBD
Real Salt Lake vs. LA Galaxy, 6 p.m.

Thursday, April 14
Portland Timbers vs. Chicago Fire, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 9
Sporting Kansas City vs. Chicago Fire, time TBD

Whitecaps FC 2011 Major League Soccer season tickets start at a base price of $319, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order, and more than 60 per cent of seats are available for less than $31 per game. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, suites, and loge boxes, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com.