Preview: Whitecaps FC clash with Houston Dynamo

'Caps take on MLS Cup Runners up in second Carolina Challenge Cup match

CHARLESTON, SC - Following two straight wins to start their Carolina training trip, Whitecaps FC take on Houston Dynamo on Wednesday afternoon for the second time this preseason. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. PT at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, South Carolina. Wednesday’s match will be streamed live; check whitecapsfc.com for the link. You can also follow on Twitter with @WhitecapsMatch for live updates

WATCH LIVE HERE

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

The ‘Caps are currently undefeated in the 2013 preseason following impressive victories against New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo, Arizona Sahuaros, Charleston Battery, and College of Charleston.

In their first appearance in the Carolina Challenge Cup, the ‘Caps are off to a flying start after winning 3-2 against hometown side Charleston Battery, which featured swift rookie midfielder Kekuta Manneh netting his first two goals of the preseason.

The match also featured Japanese Daigo Kobayashi scoring an extremely technical wonder goal with a scorpion kick. It was the newcomer’s first goal as a member of Whitecaps FC and an impressive start to the experienced midfielder’s career in Vancouver.

Head coach Martin Rennie’s side will look to continue their preseason success against Houston, who the ‘Caps have already defeated once this preseason.

The mid-week match will allow for several players to improve upon fitness and touch as they prepare for the 2013 MLS regular season.

Rennie is not sure what to expect from the Dynamo, but he knows it will be a hard-fought match no matter who draws in for the Orange.

“It will be interesting what lineup they have because they may approach the game differently than we will,” said Rennie. “The most important thing for us is to keep improving and keep performing at the highest level we can. If we have a game where we’re under pressure, that can be good for us too. As we know, we will always get a hard fought game against Houston.”

Coach Rennie was also adamant on the importance of the team pacing themselves throughout preseason.

“Last year, it was so crucial for us to win the tournament and get a winning feeling going,” commented Rennie. “This year, it’s about pacing ourselves through preseason and then really getting going in the season. We can slow down a little bit, but we’ve won every game we’ve played. That’s definitely encouraging.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO

Houston currently hold a 5W-4L-0D record in their 2013 preseason and are coming off a 3-2 loss at the hands of Chicago Fire in their opening match of the Carolina Challenge Cup. Midfielder Adam Moffat and forward Cam Weaver scored for the Dynamo, but it was not enough to overtake the Fire.

The Dynamo are making final preparations for the 2013 regular season and with only two preseason matches left, the team will be looking to end the preseason on a good note.

The team has been without defender Corey Ashe so far, as he underwent knee surgery in January. However, it is possible he will make an appearance at some point during the Carolina Challenge Cup. Ashe has been a key player for the Dynamo over the past six seasons and started 30 matches last season for the club.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Whitecaps FC have a 2W-1L-0D record against the Dynamo in MLS regular season play.

Earlier this month, the ‘Caps defeated the Dynamo by a score of 2-1. Whitecaps FC’s first goal came from striker Darren Mattocks, while the second goal for the Blue and White came from new addition Corey Hertzog.

NEXT UP

Whitecaps FC take on Chicago Fire on Saturday, February 23 in their third and final match of the Carolina Challenge Cup. On February 25, the team returns to Vancouver to move in to their new home at UBC’s National Soccer Development Centre. There, the ‘Caps will make final preparations for MLS First Kick against Toronto FC on March 2 at BC Place.

Whitecaps FC 2013 MLS season tickets start at $349, plus applicable service charges and fees. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, including Pitchside Club and suites, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.