Preview: Whitecaps FC look to continue early season success on the road against Chivas USA

'Caps off to California for clash with Chivas Sunday at 4 p.m. PT

VANCOUVER, BC – After opening their 2014 Major League Soccer campaign with an entertaining 4-1 win over New York Red Bulls, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are off to California this weekend for a meeting with a revamped Chivas USA side.

Provider Channel Resolution
Bell 1154 HD
Bell 67 SD
Optik TV 102 HD
Shaw 212 HD
Shaw 12 SD
Shaw Direct 8 SD

Kickoff for Sunday’s match is set for 4 p.m. PT at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. You can watch the match live on CTV2 BC (refer to table for channel listings) and Bell mobile devices.

The match will also be live on Team 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. Team 1410 will have a two-hour post-game show.

Whitecaps FC fans are invited to watch the match at the official Whitecaps FC Viewing Party at The Pint Public House and Sports Bar (455 Abbott St., Vancouver), hosted by ‘Caps legend Carl Valentine. 

Both Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA are coming off thrilling opening day victories over Eastern Conference opponents and will hope to carry that momentum into the second week of the MLS season.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4-1 New York Red Bulls

The ‘Caps got off to a dream start to the 2014 MLS regular season, defeating the defending Supporters Shield winners 4-1 in front of a sold-out crowd at BC Place.

Striker Kenny Miller, who played most of the game in an attacking midfielder position behind Darren Mattocks, bagged a pair of goals and newcomers Sebastian Fernandez and Pedro Morales both scored MLS Goal of the Week nominees in their respective debuts.

Fernandez was named to the MLS Team of the Week and Morales, who also picked up an assist in his 25-minute debut, was FutbolMLS.com’s Star of the Week.

The Chilean Designated Player could make his first start for the ‘Caps against Chivas USA on Sunday, though head coach Carl Robinson said that he will monitor Morales closely since he’s had limited training time with the group.

As for Fernandez, Robinson said he should be available for selection on the weekend despite sitting out Thursday's training session with a minor toe injury. 

If Fernandez can't go, one player who could take his place is second-year striker/winger Kekuta Manneh, who came on as a late substitute against the Red Bulls. However, the 19-year-old Gambian only played around 100 minutes in the preseason due a back issue, compared to others who played around 500.

Earlier in the week, Robinson said that Manneh still needs to top up his fitness levels, but “his adrenaline could probably carry him through.”

Two players who likely won't make the trip are midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy (left knee) and centre back Johnny Leveron, who is following the league's concussion protocol after picking up a knock early in the week. 

CHIVAS USA

Highlights: Chivas USA 3-2 Chicago Fire

After a disappointing 2013 campaign, in which the Goats finished in the Western Conference’s basement with a 6W-20L-8D record, Chivas USA came out of the gates with a bang last weekend – defeating Chicago Fire 3-2 to snap their four-year losing streak in season openers.

All five of the game’s goals game in the second half. Striker Erick Torres and rookie Thomas McNamara gave the Goats a two-goal lead and defender Bobby Burling scored the winner in the 88th minute after the Fire leveled the game at 2-2.

Newcomer Mauro Rosales, who spent three seasons with Seattle Sounders FC, also picked up a pair of assists in his Chivas debut. Rosales is one of several new faces in the Goats squad this season. Other new additions include Mexican striker Adolfo Bautista, Argentine midfielder Agustin Pelletieri and English striker Luke Moore.

They also have a new head coach at the helm in former Colorado Rapids assistant Wilmer Cabrera.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Sunday’s contest will be the ninth MLS meeting between the Western Conference opponents – the ‘Caps have been the more successful team to date with a 3W-1L-4D record.

Last season, Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA each won a match on home turf before they drew their third and final meeting on September 1 at BC Place.

On the road, the ‘Caps have posted a 1W-1L-2D record against the Goats. Their lone road victory was almost exactly two years ago on March 17, 2012 when captain Jay DeMerit scored his first MLS goal to help the Blue and White claim their first road victory in MLS.  

NEXT UP

The ‘Caps are back on the road next Saturday, March 22 for an early morning clash with New England Revolution at 11 a.m. PT, before returning to BC Place to host Houston Dynamo on Saturday, March 29. Retired defender Young-Pyo Lee will be honoured prior to the March 29 match.

Whitecaps FC season tickets start at the prorated price of just $331 and single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.