Preview: Whitecaps FC looking to extend unbeaten streak to seven Saturday against Philadelphia Union
VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-2L-5D) will play their final match before Major League Soccer’s two-week World Cup break this Saturday, when they visit Eastern Conference side Philadelphia Union (3W-7L-5D) at PPL Park.
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 4 p.m. PT. You can watch the match live on TSN, TSN GO, and Bell mobile devices. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. Fans are also encouraged to tune into TEAM 1410’s two-hour post-game show, which starts immediately following the match.
The 'Caps enter Saturday’s contest undefeated in six league fixtures. If they’re able to extend that streak this weekend, it would set a new club record in MLS. A win would also give Vancouver three straight road victories for the first time since joining the league.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Highlights: Portland Timbers 3-4 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
After posting a 2W-0L-1D record in MLS play during the month of May, Whitecaps FC kicked off June with a thrilling 4-3 win over Portland Timbers last weekend at Providence Park.
Portland opened the scoring in the third minute, but Whitecaps FC answered with four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead early in the second half. The Timbers made a game out of it with two late goals, but the ‘Caps held on for their fifth win of the season and their first victory over Portland in MLS.
Chilean midfielder Pedro Morales, the Budweiser Man of the Match, was involved in all four goals for Vancouver. He scored the first two, both from the penalty spot, before setting up the second two. The first-year Designated Player now has a team-high five goals and five assists this season.
Fullback Jordan Harvey, who the 'Caps acquired from the Union in 2011, and second-year striker Erik Hurtado also chipped in with a goal each against the Timbers. It was Harvey’s second goal of the season and Hurtado’s fourth in as many matches, including Amway Canadian Championship competition.
The ‘Caps, who have recorded at least 20 shots in four straight matches, are now averaging 1.83 goals per game this season, which is second to only Seattle Sounders FC. Their 2W-1L-3D road record is also third best in the league.
Robinson’s side will once again be without right back Steven Beitashour this weekend. The 27-year-old was named to Iran’s final roster for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, which is slated to begin next week.
Aside from Beitashour, the only other players who are unavaible are Sam Adekugbe (right knee), Ethen Sampson (right knee) and striker Caleb Clarke has also returned to Vancouver to rehab under the supervision of the club's medical staff after undergoing a succesful surgery on a ruptured quadriceps muscle.
Highlights: Chivas USA 0-3 Philadelphia Union
It’s been a tough start to the season for Philadelphia, who enter Saturday’s contest eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 3W-7L-5D record. Their 0.93 points per game average is the third worst in the league.
The Union are surely hoping they turned a corner last weekend, however, after cruising to a 3-0 road win over Chivas USA. Veteran striker Conor Casey scored his first two goals of the season against Chivas, while Argentine midfielder Cristian Maidana added a goal and an assist.
Former Whitecaps FC winger Sebastian Le Toux, who missed the last two games with a low back strain, is tied with American midfielder Maurice Edu for the team-lead with three goals. The Union actually have a league-high 10 different goalscorers this season, one more than Whitecaps FC.
The Union have posted a 1W-2L-3D home record this season – their lone win at PPL Park came back on March 15, 2013.
"They're technically a good side and they're coached very well with John [Hackworth]," Robinson said. "He's brought a lot of young players through and the technical side of their team is very good. We're going to have to make sure that we match that. Can we put our attacking play on them? And if we do that, they've leaked goals. Having said that, we've leaked goals as well. I seem to be saying this every week but I'm sure there will be a lot of goals in the game. Hopefully there will more goals for us than for them."
Saturday’s match will be the fifth meeting between the ‘Caps and Union – Philadelphia has a slight edge with a 2W-1L-1D record after claiming a 1-0 win last season.
Whitecaps FC have yet to beat the Union, or score a goal, in two previous encounters at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.
With the league’s World Cup break approaching, the ‘Caps aren’t back in action until June 25, when they host longtime Canadian rival Montreal Impact at BC Place. The match will also be Whitecaps FC's Italian Heritage Night. Tickets are still available at whitecapsfc.com/tickets.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($220), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. 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.