Whitecaps FC head for Texas to face Houston Dynamo on Sunday

'Caps face Dynamo for the first time

Andre Hainault Jay Nolly

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid

After thrilling home fans with two highly entertaining draws, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1W-1L-2D) complete a busy week of Major League Soccer action when they visit two-time MLS Cup winners Houston Dynamo (0W-1L-2D) in Texas on Sunday.

Houston's Robertson Stadium will be the venue for Vancouver's second away match in MLS, with Teitur Thordarson's men having experienced two eventful games at home this week. After pulling off a remarkable 3-3 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, Whitecaps FC were held to a 1-1 draw by New England Revolution in a match that saw three players earn red cards at Empire Field on Wednesday night. The 'Caps take on a Dynamo side that are still looking for their first win of the season.

MEDIA NOTES - http://club.whitecapsfc.com/files/MN2011/410houvan.pdf

Sunday's match between Whitecaps FC and Houston Dynamo from Robertson Stadium in Houston, Texas, kicks off at 4 p.m. PT and can be seen live on Rogers Sportsnet and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Sunday's contest live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 6 p.m. PT.

WHITECAPS FC

The efforts of the Blue and White in the past two games have endeared Thordarson's side to the club's supporters. Though there may be some disappointment that Vancouver dropped points at home this week, others took pride in the 'never-say-die' spirit of the 'Caps. From overcoming Saturday's three-goal deficit with Kansas City to nearly claiming all three points against New England with nine men, the character of Whitecaps FC has stood out through all the tests they have faced in the last two games.

With four matches under their belts, Vancouver's opponents are quickly finding out how competitive the 'Caps are, despite the club being in the early stages of their inaugural MLS campaign. "We don’t use being an expansion team as an excuse," said Whitecaps FC alternate captain John Thorrington. "We want to win and we know we can win. We’ve shown we have a lot of depth with the injuries and red cards that we've had to deal with. We're not just 11 players, we’re a group of 29 guys who have earned a spot on this team."

Whitecaps FC will have two talented youngsters available for their weekend clash with Houston. Striker Omar Salgado (USA) and winger Russell Teibert (Canada) are back with Thordarson's squad after participating in this year's CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala. The pair's return is tempered by match suspensions to striker Eric Hassli and midfielder Gershon Koffie following their red cards in Wednesday's home draw with New England. In fact, Koffie was called up to Ghana's U-20 national team for African qualifying towards this year's FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia and is set to miss the 'Caps next three matches.

Thordarson will also be without centre back Greg Janicki (hip), alternate captain Terry Dunfield (groin), and wingers Michael Nanchoff (groin) and Shea Salinas (knee) for the trip to Texas.

DYNAMO

In their sixth MLS season, Houston are looking to restore themselves as one of top clubs in the league after missing the playoffs for the first time in club history last season. With a home defeat to Philadelphia Union and two away draws to Seattle Sounders FC and New York Red Bulls, the newest members of the MLS Eastern Conference are aiming for their first win of the season on Sunday. The Dynamo come into the Vancouver game off the back of Wednesday's disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Sporting Kansas City in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup qualifying.

Led by former United States international Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo have retooled for 2011, with several new faces arriving in 'Space City' during the offseason. Striker Jason Garey (Columbus Crew) and defender Jordan Graye (Portland Timbers) were acquired in trades, while Hunter Freeman arrived from Norwegian club IK Start and Jermaine Taylor from Jamaica's St. George's Sports Club. The Dynamo also picked up two prospects in this year's MLS SuperDraft, with defender Kofi Sarkodie joining Houston as the seventh overall pick, while striker Will Bruin was an 11th overall selection. They join a Dynamo squad that includes Canadian international Andre Hainault. The former Montreal Impact defender is in his third season with Houston.

The Dynamo also have injury concerns, as Kinnear's side will be without Taylor (foot), as well as strikers Calen Carr (concussion) and Brian Ching (rib separation). Midfielder Brad Davis (hamstring) is a doubt to face Vancouver, while fellow midfielder Colin Clark (knee) is listed as probable.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Sunday's match is the first-ever meeting between Whitecaps FC and the Dynamo. The only time the Blue and White faced a team from Houston was during the North American Soccer League days when the 'Caps lost 1-0 at home to Houston Hurricane on June 2, 1979. However, the weekend game will be the 45th time that Vancouver play a Texas-based outfit since 1974. The 'Caps have an all-time record of 7W-12L-2D in Texas, with the 'Caps holding an overall record of 27W-13L-4D versus clubs from The Lone Star State.

There are some common ties between both sets of players. Whitecaps FC defender/midfielder Kevin Harmse was with the Dynamo during preseason in 2010, while on September 1, 2003, Houston defender Eddie Robinson scored for San Jose Earthquakes in a 4-3 friendly win over Whitecaps FC at Swangard Stadium. In the 2006 United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) campaign, striker Cam Weaver scored both goals as a member of former USL-1 club Seattle Sounders during a 2-2 draw with the 'Caps at Swangard on May 26, 2006.

HOME TO THE GOATS

Following Sunday's game in Houston, Whitecaps FC return home for their next two matches, starting with MLS Western Conference rivals Chivas USA at Empire Field on Saturday, April 16, at 4 p.m. PT. Individual match tickets start at $20, plus applicable service charges, and are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, and Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.855.646.2277). CLICK HERE for more information on individual match tickets for the club's inaugural MLS season.

Whitecaps FC's home match versus Chivas USA can also be seen live on Rogers Sportsnet and Bell mobile devices at 4 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to the April 16 contest live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 6 p.m. PT.

Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer 2011 season tickets are available at a pro-rated price, starting at $268. 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.