Preview: Whitecaps FC head to Lone Star State
VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-0L-0D) go on the road for the first time this season as they travel to Texas for what could be an epic clash with 2012 MLS Cup runners-up Houston Dynamo (1W-1L-0D) this coming Saturday, March 23 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
This will be Vancouver's first match at BBVA Compass Stadium, where the Dynamo have never lost. In fact, Houston are currently riding a 32-match home unbeaten streak in all official competitions. The 'Caps will look to do what 18 teams have failed to do before them, beat Houston at home and extend their own winning start to their third MLS campaign.
Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and Houston Dynamo kicks off at 5:30 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet Pacific, Bell mobile devices and MLS LIVE (live.mlssoccer.com). 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday afternoon’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 3:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match.
*Fans are invited to attend the Official Whitecaps FC Viewing Party on Saturday at the Lamplighter Pub in Gastown. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and will be hosted by 'Caps legend Carl Valentine. Come down, join your fellow Whitecaps FC supporters, and win some great prizes! More info at: http://ow.ly/jih9o
Whitecaps FC continued their winning start to the season in their last match, a 2-1 win over Columbus Crew at BC Place two weeks ago. Japanese attacking midfielder Daigo Kobayashi was named Budweiser Man of the Match for a performance which featured the newcomer looking particularly influential on the flow of the ‘Caps attack as he scored an incredible goal on an impressive distance strike. In what appeared to be an ambitious attempt, Kobayashi took a powerful shot from 30 yards out and captured MLS Goal of the Week as a result of his effort.
WATCH: Whitecaps FC look ahead to Houston
In their first away fixture of the season, the ‘Caps will look to end Houston’s home undefeated streak in their first visit to BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo’s streak stands at 32 unbeaten matches in a row at home (not including friendly matches) and dates back to a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on June 11, 2011. In MLS play, the Dynamo are unbeaten in 26 matches at home, three behind Real Salt Lake's MLS record of 29. RSL also hold the MLS record of going 34 matches unbeaten in all competitions.
Whitecaps FC will be without striker Kenny Miller, as he is away on international duty with Scotland. The team will also be without captain Jay DeMerit indefinitely due to a left Achilles tendon tear and winger Omar Salgado due to a sore left foot.
Houston will be looking to rebound following a 3-2 defeat to Texas rivals FC Dallas during MLS Rivalry Week. After going down 2-0, Houston found their way back into the match after two late second-half goals from winger Andrew Driver and captain Brad Davis, but a last-minute goal by Kenny Cooper in the dying minutes gave FC Dallas the victory.
Despite last week’s loss, Houston again look like a team built to make a run at MLS Cup. With the likes of goalkeeper Tally Hall, set-piece specialist Davis, and striker Will Bruin, the Dynamo are expected to be a force in the Eastern Conference.
WATCH: Houston's 5 things to watch
The Orange will be missing several key players this weekend due to international duty. Davis was a late addition to the United States men's national team, while starting midfielder Boniek Garcia is with Honduras and starting centre back Jermaine Taylor is with Jamaica.
There is a chance Bruin will also not be available for Saturday’s match due to a hamstring injury, but if he is on the field the ‘Caps will have to keep a keen eye on him. Last season, the St. Louis native set a franchise record with 16 goals in all competitions.
Striker Calen Carr remains out with a knee injury. However, Dynamo striker Omar Cummings will likely make his first appearance of the season after undergoing surgery on January 25 to repair a right knee injury.
Saturday’s match is the fourth all-time MLS meeting between the two clubs, with the Blue and White holding a 2W-1L-0D record against the Orange. Both victories for the 'Caps came at home - one at Empire Field in 2011 and the other at BC Place in 2012. Vancouver's lone loss was in the club's only visit to the Dynamo's former home at Robertson Stadium, a 3-1 defeat in 2011.
Earlier this year, Whitecaps FC took on the Dynamo twice in preseason, with each team claiming a 2-1 win.
Prior to the MLS days, the 'Caps lost 1-0 at home to Houston Hurricane on June 2, 1979. Saturday will mark the 53rd time that Whitecaps FC play a club from the Lone Star State. Overall, Vancouver have a record of 30W-18L-4D against Texan clubs, including a 7W-15L-2D record in Texas.
On Saturday, March 30 Whitecaps FC head to California to take on Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet ONE, City, and Bell mobile devices. ‘Caps fans can also listen to the match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca.