Preview: Action shifts to Vancouver as Whitecaps FC look for redemption against LA Galaxy
VANCOUVER, BC – After suffering a 1-0 road defeat to LA Galaxy (2W-1L-1D) last weekend in Carson, California, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-2D) will get a second crack at their Western Conference rival this Saturday at BC Place. Tickets: http://ow.ly/vX8P7.
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 4 p.m. PT at BC Place. You can watch the match live on TSN, Bell mobile devices, and TSN GO. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 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.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Highlights: LA Galaxy 1-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The ‘Caps will be looking for redemption on Saturday after coming up just short last weekend at the StubHub Center. It was an encouraging performance from the Blue and White, who created no less than three quality scoring chances in the first half before surrendering an early second-half marker.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson opted to leave both Kenny Miller and Nigel Reo-Coker on the bench to start the match last weekend, as he returned to the 4-2-3-1 formation used earlier this season. In their place, youngsters Sebastian Fernandez and Kekuta Manneh drew into the starting lineup on the wings, while Russell Teibert dropped into a holding midfield position alongside Gershon Koffie.
With holding midfielder Matias Laba now available for selection after serving his one-game suspension, however, there could be at least one personnel change to Robinson’s squad in this weekend’s rematch.
“We all know how good Matias has been for us in the first five games of the season,” Robinson told reporters earlier this week. “He’s been absolutely fantastic and he’s a vital part of our team moving forward. It will be a tough decision, but I’m better off having those decisions to make then wondering who I’m going to put in the team.”
It’s possible there could be a tactical change as well, though Robinson said he was pleased with his team’s road performance against the Galaxy. In Vancouver’s last two home matches, the ‘Caps fielded a 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation with Laba as the lone defensive midfielder and Miller and Darren Mattocks as a two-striker tandem.
The ‘Caps are currently one point up on the Galaxy, though they have played two more matches. At BC Place, Whitecaps FC have outscored their opponents by a 7-4 margin while posting a 2W-1L-0D record this season.
"It's our place, in front of our fans, so it will be a different environment," Robinson said. "We have to use our 12th man, our fans, to get behind us right from the word go. And I think we'll do that, as LA did last weekend. I'm sure they'll come slightly different tactically as well, so it will be another very interesting match."
Galaxy discuss 1-0 win, look ahead to this weekend's rematch
The Galaxy enter Saturday’s contest undefeated in three matches after recording back-to-back clean sheets at home to Chivas USA and Whitecaps FC respectively. It’s been over 250 minutes since the Galaxy last conceded a goal, dating back to the first half of their 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake on March 22.
With his goal against the ‘Caps last weekend, Robbie Keane now leads the Galaxy with three goals in four matches. The Irish international, who broke into the first team at Wolverhampton Wanderers alongside Robinson, has scored a goal in three consecutive matches.
Another player who is off to a hot start for the Galaxy is newcomer Stefan Ishizaki, who picked up the assist on Keane’s goal. The Swedish midfielder now has a goal and two assists in just 136 minutes of action over the last two games.
Meanwhile, the waiting game continues for Galaxy midfielder/striker Landon Donovan, who is one goal away from becoming the league’s all-time leading goalscorer.
With 134 MLS regular season goals, the U.S. national team star is currently tied for the all-time lead with long-time MLS striker Jeff Cunningham. Donovan has scored four goals in seven previous regular season appearances against the ‘Caps, which is more than any other Galaxy player.
Whitecaps FC and LA Galaxy have produced several memorable matches over the past three seasons. For ‘Caps fans, last year’s 3-1 win over the Galaxy at BC Place likely tops the list. It was Vancouver’s first-ever win over the Galaxy and it came on the strength of Teibert’s first two MLS goals.
Overall, the Galaxy hold a 7W-1L-1D edge over Whitecaps FC in regular season play (they also handed Vancouver a 2-1 defeat in the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs), though each of their last three victories were one-goal games.
Saturday’s contest will be LA’s first and only visit to BC Place this season.
The ‘Caps are back on the road next weekend, as they visit an always tough Real Salt Lake side on Saturday, April 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Then, the Blue and White return to BC Place for the club’s 40th anniversary match on May 3 against San Jose Earthquakes.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC 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). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.