Preview: Undefeated 'Caps back at BC Place for Western Conference clash with Colorado Rapids

Can Whitecaps FC extend their unbeaten start into April?

VANCOUVER, BC – After going undefeated in the month of March, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-0L-2D) are set to kick off a string of five straight matches against Western Conference opponents when they host Colorado Rapids (1W-1L-1D) Saturday at BC Place. Tickets: ow.ly/vmsRU

Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 3:30 p.m. PT at BC Place. You can watch the match live on CTV BC (view channel listings here) and Bell mobile devices. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 1:30 p.m. PT. Following the match, TEAM 1410 will have a two-hour post-game show.

Whitecaps FC are proud to announce that the Canadian Cancer Society of BC and Yukon is the club's community match-day partner on Saturday. Fans are encouraged to pick up a daffodil pin on the concourse and wear it proudly throughout the month in support of the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Month. 

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Highlights: Whitecaps FC 2-1 Houston Dynamo

The ‘Caps enter Saturday’s contest tied for second place in the Western Conference, having posted a 2W-0L-2D record in their first four outings.

In those games, Carl Robinson’s side outscored their opponents by a 7-3 margin, which gives them the second best goal differential in the league. They’re also one of four teams who remain undefeated four weeks into the 2014 Major League Soccer season.

Most recently, Vancouver claimed a 2-1 win over Houston Dynamo last weekend at BC Place. Scottish striker Kenny Miller scored his team-high third goal of the season on a second-half penalty, while fullback Jordan Harvey opened his 2014 goal-scoring account in the 14th minute.

Robinson opted to use a 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation against the Dynamo, which freed up Pedro Morales to make his mark on the game in midfield. The Chilean midfielder, who has a goal and two assists in his first four MLS appearances, now leads all MLS players (who have played at least 100 minutes) with 16.03 passes into the final third per 90 minutes.

On the injury front, midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker missed last weekend’s match after suffering a concussion in an off-field incident. Reo-Coker did some non-contact training throughout the week, and Robinson said he's hopeful the Englishman will be able to train with the main group on Friday. 

COLORADO RAPIDS

Highlights: Colorado Rapids 2-3 Sporting Kansas City

Under new head coach Pablo Mastroeni, the Rapids have posted a 1W-1L-1D record heading into Saturday’s meeting with Whitecaps FC.

In their most recent outing, Mastroeni’s side suffered a 3-2 home loss to defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City last weekend at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. All five goals were scored in the second half.

One player the ‘Caps will have to be wary of on Saturday is Uruguayan attacking midfielder Vicente Sanchez, who joined the Rapids midway through the 2013 season. Sanchez, who is currently tied for the league-lead with four goals, has scored all but one of Colorado’s goals this season. And remarkably, each of them have come from the penalty spot.

At the other end of the park, the Rapids come to Vancouver with a somewhat depleted back line. Defender Marvell Wynne will miss Saturday's match due to suspension, and a number of his teammates could also be unavailable. 

Goalkeeper Clint Irwin (quad strain) and defenders Chris Klute (hamstring strain) and Dillon Serna (ankle sprain) each sat out last weekend’s contest due to injury. Defender Marc Burch, meanwhile, left the game in the 62nd minute with a calf injury and could also miss the Vancouver match.

These injuries could signal the MLS debut of Austrian defender Thomas Piermayr, who the Rapids signed on Wednesday. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Colorado holds the all-time edge over Whitecaps FC in MLS play with a 4W-3L-1D record, though at home the ‘Caps are 2W-1L-1D.

Last season, Vancouver suffered back-to-back road losses at the hands of the Denver outfit, before earning a 3-0 win in their regular season finale at BC Place. 

Saturday’s match will be the first of three meetings between the Western Conference rivals this season. The two sides will meet again at the end of June and then, for the third time in four years, the ‘Caps will host the Rapids in their regular season finale.

NEXT UP

Following Saturday’s contest, Whitecaps FC will play a much-anticipated home-and-home series with perennial Western Conference contender LA Galaxy. First, the two teams will meet next Saturday, April 12 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, before going head-to-head again the following weekend at BC Place.

Whitecaps FC season tickets start at the prorated price of just $312 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.