Whitecaps FC back home for big clash versus LA Galaxy

'Caps gear up for defending MLS Cup champions at BC Place

Playing their first home match in nearly a month, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-6L-6D) host defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy (8W-10L-2D) in Major League Soccer on Wednesday evening.

Martin Rennie’s squad are back home after spending the past three weeks on the road playing five league matches. With four of the next five games on Bell Pitch at BC Place, with an opportunity to snap a two-match losing streak in front of a passionate, sold-out crowd. LA come to Vancouver in buoyant mood after a big weekend victory at Portland Timbers. Both clubs met earlier this season on June 23, with Vancouver suffering a 3-0 defeat to the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California. First-half goals by Mike Magee, Robbie Keane, and Landon Donovan gave LA a comfortable home win over the ‘Caps.

Tickets are sold out for Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and LA Galaxy at BC Place, kicking off at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets remain available for Sunday's match against league-leading San Jose Earthquakes, kicking off at 4 p.m. PT at BC Place. 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 Whitecaps FC tickets.

Whitecaps FC's home match versus LA Galaxy can also be seen live on TSN2 and Bell mobile devices at 7 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 5 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 9 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow Wednesday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.

WHITECAPS FC

Having put in many miles of travel in the last few weeks, this week offers Whitecaps FC a chance for home comforts, despite the challenge of facing a resurgent Galaxy and the league’s top club in San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. ‘Caps fans will see a new look to their side following three mid-season roster moves. Davide Chiumiento (FC Zürich) and Sebastien Le Toux (New York Red Bulls) departed the club last week, while two new faces walked into BC Place as Whitecaps FC players for Monday training.

After making his debut in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Chicago Fire, Dane Richards may get the chance to start a second match at BC Place in less than a month, having played against Vancouver with former club New York on June 20. The Jamaican international was joined by the club’s newest Designated Player, as Scottish international striker Kenny Miller was formally unveiled by the Blue and White. A prolific goalscorer throughout his career, the clash with LA may have come a bit too soon for the 32-year-old to make his ‘Caps debut, as Miller only arrived on Canada’s west coast on Sunday.

Rennie will need to make changes to his squad for the big midweek clash, as he will be without the services of the versatile Alain Rochat through caution accumulation. The Scottish tactician is also without striker Eric Hassli after the big Frenchman suffered an ankle sprain in the late stages of the weekend defeat in Chicago. Some good news on the injury front is that striker Atiba Harris is back in full training after undergoing a successful operation to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee on May 25.

Whitecaps FC are also without the services of striker Omar Salgado for most of the summer after suffering a right foot fracture, while on international duty with the United States U-20 squad in Uruguay last month. Midfielder John Thorrington is doubtful after suffering a quad strain against the Galaxy on June 23.

GALAXY

On a two-match winning streak and having won five of their last seven MLS matches, LA are starting to show the pedigree that has them tipped as the side to beat in MLS this season. When at their best, Bruce Arena’s squad have shown themselves to be very difficult to contain, as Whitecaps FC can attest to in their last encounter. The Galaxy made a spectacular start to this two-match Cascadia road trip after disposing of Western Conference strugglers Portland Timbers 5-3 on Saturday. LA’s three Designated Players in Donovan, Keane, and David Beckham led by example in The City of Roses – with the result considered a statement of intent from LA after a slow start to their 2012 league campaign.

Three Galaxy players, in particular, have enjoyed scoring success against Vancouver in MLS since 2011. Donovan and Magee have scored three goals each against Whitecaps FC, while Keane has registered two goals in action against the Blue and White. LA have also been given a much-needed defensive boost by the return of centre back Omar Gonzalez. The 2011 MLS Defender of the Year is back training after missing much of the campaign with an off-season knee injury.

The Galaxy are without defenders Andrew Boyens (sports hernia) and Leonardo (knee), midfielder Dan Keat (knee), as well as striker Edson Buddle (knee). Magee (shin), Kyle Nakazawa (back), and Pat Noonan (quad) are listed as questionable.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Wednesdayʼs match will also be the fourth competitive meeting between Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy, with LA winning the first three MLS encounters. Their inaugural league meeting took place on July 30, 2011, with LA running out convincing 4-0 winners over Vancouver at Empire Field. Two goals by Donovan led the Galaxy to victory, with Sean Franklin and Adam Cristman also finding the scoresheet for the visitors. The Galaxy followed that with a 3-0 home win over Whitecaps FC on Sept. 17, 2011. Two goals by Magee and a second-half strike by Keane gave LA a comfortable win at The Home Depot Center last season.

Prior to 2011, Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy faced each other in two friendly contests when Vancouver were a North American second division club. On November 7, 2007, a crowd of 48,172 filled BC Place to see the 'Caps draw 0-0 with LA, while on May 13, 2008, Vancouver defeated the Galaxy 2-1 in front of 37,104 fans at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

Whitecaps FC also have prior history of playing clubs from the ʻCity of Angelsʼ. During the days of the old North American Soccer League, Whitecaps FC played Los Angeles Aztecs 19 times between 1974 and 1981. The 'Caps registered a 10W-9L record overall and a 7W-2L record versus the Aztecs in Vancouver. Carl Valentine was Whitecaps FC's all-time leading scorer against the Aztecs with four goals, while Bob Lenarduzzi scored two goals against LA during that era. Then in the days of the old American Professional Soccer League, Vancouver played Los Angeles Salsa 10 times between 1993 and 1994. They registered a 3W-7L overall record and a 1W-5L record in Vancouver during that time. Between 1974 and 2012, Whitecaps FC have an all-time record of 13W-19L-0D versus clubs from LA and a 8W-9L-0D all-time record against LA clubs in Vancouver.

There are several connections between Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy. ‘Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon played for LA in 2007 and was teammates with Donovan at the Galaxy and San Jose. Keane and Vancouver’s Young-Pyo Lee were teammates at English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur FC. The Galaxy duo of goalkeeper Josh Saunders and defender Bryan Jordan all played against Whitecaps FC at the North American second division level. Arena and Whitecaps FC director of soccer operations Tom Soehn are former D.C. United head coaches, while Jordan Harvey and Brad Knighton were teammates with LA goalkeeper Brian Perk at Philadelphia Union.

Whitecaps FC and the Galaxy will meet once more this regular season at The Home Depot Center on Saturday, September 1.

NEXT UP: HIGH-FLYING SAN JOSE

Following Wednesday’s clash with LA, Whitecaps FC will turn their attentions to hosting Western Conference leaders San Jose Earthquakes for a second time this season on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff from BC Place is set for 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 Whitecaps FC tickets.

Whitecaps FC's home match versus San Jose Earthquakes can also be seen live on Sportsnet Pacific and Bell mobile devices at 4 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen Sunday’s match 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. Fans can also follow Wednesday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.

Customize your Whitecaps FC experience with our 2012 Flex Pack! Starting at $199, Flex Packs include six match tickets in the Aqua, Yellow, or Purple sections at BC Place, and can be used for any MLS regular season home match this season. Offering savings over single match ticket purchases, Flex Packs offer supporters the ability to use any ticket quantity combination. For example, bring six friends to one match or attend three matches with a friend - it’s up to you how you use your Flex Pack! To purchase your Flex Pack, call 604.669.9283 ext. 3, or email sales@whitecapsfc.com. For additional information on our new Whitecaps FC Flex Pack, visit whitecapsfc.com/flex-packs.