Preview: Whitecaps FC won't take 'wounded animal' Chicago Fire lightly Wednesday at Toyota Park
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-4L-10D) will conclude a busy month of July on Wednesday, when they visit Eastern Conference side Chicago Fire (3W-5L-11D) at Toyota Park.
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 5:30 p.m. PT. 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 3:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.
The ‘Caps, one of three teams to have lost just four matches this season, and Fire lead their respective conferences with 10 and 11 draws apiece. But after three straight draws, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said his side will be aiming for three points Wednesday in the Windy City.
“It will be a difficult game for us, but a game where we can rebound after the draw on Sunday,” Robinson told reporters on Monday before departing for Chicago. “I’m sick of draws to be honest. We’ll be going to win.”
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Last match: Whitecaps FC 2-2 FC Dallas
Wednesday’s match will be Vancouver’s sixth and final match of the month, marking their busiest month of the season. They’ve picked up a point in four of their five matches to date, including an exciting 2-2 draw with FC Dallas last weekend at BC Place.
Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks gave Vancouver an early 1-0 lead, finding the back of the net in his third straight match, before Dallas responded with a pair of tallies late in the first half.
Chilean Pedro Morales, who tied the all-time MLS record with 12 shots, equalized for Whitecaps FC through a 53rd-minute penalty to help the Blue and White come away with another point in a match that saw them set a new club record with 30 shots.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t take more than two out of 30 attempts, because we should,” Robinson said. “But the way the boys played, I can’t fault them. They’re doing everything that I want at the moment with regards to their work ethic, their heart, their determination, the possession type of the game, and the transitional type of the game that I want embedded in the team. I know we need wins and we’re doing everything we can at the moment to try and get them.”
With the quick turnaround between games, Robinson said he may make a couple changes to his squad for Wednesday’s match. But he said that will depend on how the players are feeling, as the ‘Caps aren’t back in action until August 10.
“They’re pretty honest with me and they’ll tell me if they’re not 100 per cent,” Robinson said. “If they’re not, I won’t risk them. But it’s a game we can win. If they’re 95 per cent fit then I’m actually going to try to play them.”
This will be Vancouver’s eighth match against an Eastern Conference opponent this season. They’re unbeaten so far with a 3W-0L-4D record.
Last match: San Jose Earthquakes 5-1 Chicago Fire
The Fire enter Wednesday’s contest eighth in the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 19 matches, including a 1W-2L-6D record at Toyota Park. Their most recent outing was a 5-1 road loss to San Jose Earthquakes on July 23 at Buck Shaw Stadium.
“I don’t think any game is a should-win in this league,” Harvey said. “They’re all competitive. There’s so much parity throughout. It is on the road, there’s a little bit of a flight here and we just did have a game, but I think we have the depth to put out a lineup that is more than capable of getting three points.”
Although they have struggled to get into the win column, the Fire have plenty of firepower up front who have proven to be a handful this season. There’s reigning league MVP Mike Magee as well as youngsters Quincy Amarikwa and Harry Shipp, who lead the team with six goals apiece. The three players have accounted for over 60 per cent of Chicago’s goal output this season.
There could also be a familiar face in the Fire lineup on Wednesday in midfielder Matt Watson, who was acquired from Whitecaps FC on March 5. Watson has started eight of 13 appearances this season, recording one assist.
This will be the fifth all-time meeting between Chicago and Vancouver in MLS. The ‘Caps have the edge with a 2W-1L-1D record, including a 3-1 win last season at BC Place.
At Toyota Park, however, the Fire hold a slight advantage with a 1W-0L-1D record.
The ‘Caps aren’t back in action until Sunday, August 10, when they host defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City and U.S. national team World Cup stars Matt Besler and Graham Zusi at BC Place. 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, 5-packs, 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.