Preview: Whitecaps FC host Philadelphia Union

‘Caps look to remain #UndefeatedAtHome

VANCOUVER, BC – Looking to keep their home unbeaten streak alive, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9W-6L-5D) host Philadelphia Union (8W-6L-7D) this coming Saturday, July 27, at BC Place in a battle of two of the hottest attacking teams in MLS.

Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and Philadelphia Union kicks off at 4 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet Pacific and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday’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. The Home Depot is the official sponsor of Saturday's match. 

The ‘Caps home unbeaten streak has now entered double digits and currently stands at 10 matches in MLS and 12 matches in all competitions. The 'Caps are tied for the most goals scored in MLS this season with 33 on the year so far, while Philadelphia are just behind with 32.

Saturday’s match also features the return of Sebastien Le Toux to Vancouver. The French winger will play his first match against the ‘Caps since being traded in July of last year.

WHITECAPS FC

Martin Rennie’s side are coming off of a disappointing 2-1 loss this past Saturday, July 20 to LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The 'Caps got the early lead from red hot striker Camilo, but the Galaxy came roaring back to equalize and then take the lead with second-half goals from youngsters Jose Villareal and Gyasi Zardes.

Despite the defeat in their last outing, Whitecaps FC are on a run of good form lately with only one loss in their last seven matches.

Last match: LA Galaxy 2-1 Whitecaps FC

Especially impressive for the Blue and White has been Camilo, who is currently on top of the MLS Golden Boot race as the top scorer in the league. His 13th goal of the season against LA Galaxy topped Chicago's Mike Magee, who tied Camilo earlier in the day with his 12th goal of the year.

The 'Caps will also go into the rest of the season knowing that Designated Player Kenny Miller will remain in Vancouver this year, as the striker signed a six-month contract extension with the club on Wednesday.

Absent for Whitecaps FC this weekend will continue to be captain Jay DeMerit (ruptured Achilles tendon) and winger Omar Salgado (foot surgery). Centre back Andy O’Brien is listed as questionable (hamstring strain), but has returned to full training with the team.

PHILADELPHIA UNION

Last match: Philadelphia Union 0-0 Portland Timbers

The Union are coming off of a 0-0 draw with Portland Timbers at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Although they were held scoreless against the Timbers, Philadelphia’s attack has been extremely potent as of late, with strikers Conor Casey and Jack McInerney providing a combined total of 17 goals so far this season. Setting up many of those goals has been Le Toux, who leads MLS with nine assists so far this season.

One-third of that trio will not be in Vancouver though as Casey will miss this Saturday’s match due to yellow card accumulation. That puts increased attention on McInerney, who got off to a hot start this season but has not scored since June 1 against Toronto FC. The young striker was recently away with the United States national team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup but has now rejoined the Union and started their last match against the Timbers.

On the injury front, only midfielder Michael Lahoud is questionable after sports hernia surgery.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This will be the fourth meeting between the two clubs. The teams have an equal 1W-1L-1D overall record but Vancouver holds a 1W-0L-0D record at home. The last meeting between the sides resulted in a 0-0 draw at Philadelphia’s PPL Park in 2012.

This will be the first ever visit by the Union to BC Place, as their only prior visit to Vancouver was in 2011 at Empire Field when the 'Caps won 1-0.

March 31, 2012: Philadelphia Union 0-0 Whitecaps FC

Prior to 2011, the ‘Caps battled two other Philadelphia teams. In the 1974 and 1975 NASL seasons, Vancouver won two matches against Philadelphia Atoms before earning another pair of wins against Philadelphia Fury in the 1979 and 1980 NASL seasons. More recently, Vancouver played another team from Pennsylvania, the Hershey Wildcats. In the 2001 United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) playoff semifinals, the Wildcats defeated Whitecaps FC 4-1 on aggregate.

There are also several player connections between the two clubs. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton and fullback Jordan Harvey have both spent time with Philadelphia. Knighton made eight appearances in the 2010 season and Harvey made 46 appearances between 2009 and 2010 before being traded to Vancouver. The Union also have a couple of former Whitecaps FC players in their lineup. Sebastian Le Toux and Jeff Parke both previously played for the ‘Caps, with Le Toux making 19 MLS appearances for Whitecaps FC at the beginning of the 2012 season, while Parke made eight appearances for the ‘Caps in the 2009 USL-1 season.

NEXT UP

A big match awaits the ‘Caps next weekend as they head back on the road to face Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday, August 3, in an important Cascadia Cup match. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT.