Preview: Whitecaps FC return to BC Place to host Eastern Conference leaders Houston Dynamo
VANCOUVER, BC – After picking up a pair of draws in their first two road matches of the season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1W-0L-2D) return to BC Place on Saturday to host Eastern Conference leaders Houston Dynamo (2W-0L-0D).
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 4 p.m. PT at BC Place. You can watch the match live on TSN2 and Bell mobile devices. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. Following the match, TEAM 1410 will have a two-hour post-game show.
Make sure to get to your seats early, as retired defender Young-Pyo Lee will be honoured in a special ceremony prior to kickoff. The South Korean legend will also be signing autographs at the Bell Box on Terry Fox Plaza from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT.
Though the 2014 Major League Soccer season is only three weeks old, both Vancouver and Houston bring undefeated records into Saturday’s contest.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Highlights: New England Revolution 0-0 Whitecaps FC
The ‘Caps are coming off back-to-back road draws after a dominant opening day victory at BC Place.
A late Kekuta Manneh equalizer salvaged a 1-1 draw with Chivas USA on March 16, before the Blue and White played to a scoreless draw last weekend in New England.
Last weekend, Designated Player Pedro Morales was subbed on at halftime after making his first start the week before against Chivas USA. The Chilean attacking midfielder, who was also a second-half substitute in Vancouver’s season opener against New York, could make his first home start Saturday against Houston.
Another candidate to get back into the starting lineup is centre back Jay DeMerit, who Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson opted to rest last weekend. In his absence, Honduran centre back Johnny Leveron made his first appearance of the season and filled in admirably.
Robinson will be forced to make at least once change this weekend, with midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker unavailable due to a concussion suffered in an off-field incident earlier in the week.
Heading into Saturday’s match, the ‘Caps have conceded just two goals in three matches – outscoring their opponents 5-2 in the process. They have also posted a 8W-2L-2D record against Eastern Conference opponents dating back to their 2013 season opener against Toronto FC.
Listen to Carl Robinson speak to reporters about Saturday's match:
Highlights: Houston Dynamo 1-0 Montreal Impact
The Dynamo enter Saturday’s contest as one of three teams atop the Eastern Conference table with six points from two matches – they stood idle last weekend after back-to-back wins to start the season.
This will be Houston’s first match away from BBVA Compass Stadium, after opening their 2014 campaign with home victories over New England Revolution and Montreal Impact. The Dynamo are the only remaining team in MLS who have yet to concede a goal.
At the other end of the park, the Texas outfit have scored five goals while launching 26 shots towards the goal in their first two matches. Striker Will Bruin has led the way offensively for Houston, with a league-high three goals to go along with one assist.
Last season, Houston finished fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 14W-11L-9D record, before defeating Montreal Impact in the knockout round and upsetting New York Red Bulls in the conference semifinals. They then fell to eventual MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference finals.
Vancouver and Houston have met four times in MLS play, with both sides having won a pair of matches on home soil. Last season, the Dynamo handed Whitecaps FC their first defeat of the season on March 23, 2013.
Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks opened the scoring in the 36th minute, his third goal in two career matches against Houston, but two second-half goals propelled the Dynamo to a 2-1 victory.
The ‘Caps are back at BC Place next Saturday, April 5 for a meeting with Western Conference rival Colorado Rapids. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. PT.
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.