Preview: 'Caps off to California for first of back-to-back meetings with star-studded LA Galaxy

Whitecaps FC set for important home-and-home series with LA

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-1L-2D) are off to California this weekend for the first of back-to-back meetings with Western Conference rival LA Galaxy (1W-1L-1D).

Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. You can watch the match live on TSN, Bell mobile devices, and TSN GO. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 5:30 p.m. PT. Following the match, 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 London Pub (700 Main St., Vancouver). Festivities will get underway at 6:30 p.m. PT.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Highlights: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-2 Colorado Rapids

The ‘Caps saw their four-match unbeaten streak come to an end last weekend, falling 2-1 to Colorado Rapids in front of a third straight sold-out BC Place crowd to start the season.

Striker Darren Mattocks gave Whitecaps FC a 1-0 lead in the 67th minute with his first goal of the season, but things took a turn after defensive midfielder Matias Laba was sent off 10 minutes later. With the ‘Caps down to 10 men, Rapids midfielder Jose Mari scored two stunning goals (his first is up for MLS Goal of the Week) in as many minutes to lead Colorado to victory.

As a result of last weekend’s ejection, Laba will serve his one-game suspension on Saturday against the Galaxy. His absence could signal the return of midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, who trained in full this week after missing the last two matches with a concussion.

Saturday’s contest will be Vancouver’s third match away from home this season – they have earned a draw in each of their previous two road fixtures. In total, the ‘Caps have posted a 2W-1L-2D record, which is good enough for third in the Western Conference.

Scottish striker Kenny Miller leads Whitecaps FC with three goals, while Mattocks and Pedro Morales each have a pair of assists to their name. Morales also leads all of Major League Soccer with 12 chances created from open play.

LA GALAXY

Highlights: Chivas USA 0-3 LA Galaxy

The Galaxy are coming off a dominant 3-0 victory over Chivas USA in the first 2014 edition of the SuperClassico at the StubHub Center.

Irish international Robbie Keane, recently-acquired Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki, and former Chicago Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic, whose goal is up for MLS Goal of the Week, provided the scoring for the Galaxy in another one-sided affair between the California rivals.

It was LA’s first victory of the season, after claiming a single point from a season-opening home-and-home series with Real Salt Lake. Keane leads the Galaxy with two goals in three games, while U.S. national team star Landon Donovan, who is one goal away from setting a new MLS record for career goals, and Juninho each have a pair of assists.

In addition to Ishizaki and Husidic, another Galaxy newcomer this season is Canadian striker Rob Friend. The 33-year-old Saskatchewan native, who was raised in Kelowna, has appeared in two of LA’s three matches thus far.

On the injury front, left back Todd Dunivant (strained abdominal muscle) has been ruled out for Saturday's match, but the Galaxy could see the return of versatile defender A.J. DeLaGarza (bruised left shin/ankle). 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Over the last three years, meetings between Vancouver and Los Angeles have produced several moments of passion, heartbreak, and jubilation.

The Galaxy hold the edge over Whitecaps FC with a 6W-1L-1D record in MLS regular season play, but the ‘Caps claimed their first victory last season on the strength of Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert’s first two professional goals. 

Whitecaps FC also played their first-ever MLS Cup playoff match against the Galaxy back in 2012. It was a dream start for Mattocks and the visiting ‘Caps, who opened the scoring in the third minute before two second-half Galaxy goals ended Vancouver’s season in heartbreak.

NEXT UP

Whitecaps FC return to BC Place next Saturday, April 19 for the back half of their home-and-home series with the star-studded Galaxy. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. PT and there are still limited tickets available.

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.