Preview: In-form Chivas USA heading to town for Western Conference clash with Whitecaps FC

Breaking down Saturday's tilt at BC Place

VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-3L-7D) will officially hit the halfway mark of their 2014 Major League Soccer season on Saturday, when they host Chivas USA (5W-7L-5D) at BC Place.

Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 7 p.m. PT at BC Place. You can watch the match live on TSN2, 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 5 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Last match: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 Seattle Sounders FC

The fifth-place ‘Caps picked up their sixth win of the season last weekend against first-place Seattle Sounders FC. Sebastian Fernandez’s 12th minute strike proved to be the difference in an entertaining Cascadia derby at BC Place. It was Fernandez’s third goal of the season – each of them have been long-distance strikes nominated for MLS Goal of the Week.

Designated Player Pedro Morales was awarded an assist on the goal, increasing his team-leading tally to six on the season. The Chilean also leads Whitecaps FC with six goals.

The Blue and White have now posted a clean sheet in two of their three matches after the league’s World Cup break and a total of four on the season.

“I think we defended as a team [against Seattle],” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson told reporters on Thursday. “Sometimes this season, we’ve defended well individually but not collectively. And I thought against Seattle in the second half especially we defended very well collectively as a group. That must continue and we must also play on the front foot.”

Robinson went with a central back pairing of Johnny Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell for the second straight match last weekend with Andy O’Brien (right hip) and Jay DeMerit (left ankle) sidelined due to injury.

“He’s only trained two days in two weeks,” Robinson said of O’Brien, who trained in full on Thursday. “We’ll monitor him as he goes along. The guys who came in and stepped in did admirably last weekend. If I feel it’s right to put Andy in, I will. If I think it’s too early, then I won’t.”

CHIVAS USA

Last match: Chivas USA 1-0 Montreal Impact

Though they enter Saturday’s contest eighth in the Western Conference, Chivas USA have won three matches in a row and they’re unbeaten in four. Each of their last three matches were 1-0 victories – the match before that was also a 1-1 draw with LA Galaxy.

Red-hot striker Erick Torres scored Chivas USA’s lone goal in each of those four matches, including an MLS Goal of the Week nominee last week against Montreal Impact. He’s also scored three goals in two career appearances against Whitecaps FC.

The Mexican is now tied for second in the league with 12 goals in 17 appearances this season.

“He’s been on fire,” Robinson told reporters. “He has super movement and he’s an excellent finisher so we’ll have to be on our game – not just the defenders but as a team.”

Though Torres has been making the headlines, defence has been a big part of Chivas USA’s recent success. The Goats have now gone 325 minutes without allowing a goal, the longest shutout streak in MLS this season and just 76 minutes shy of the club record.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

March 16, 2014: Chivas USA 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC

This will be the second of three meetings between Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA this season.

In their first meeting, Chivas USA went down to 10 men early but still managed to take the lead through a 45th-minute Torres tally. Second-half substitute Kekuta Manneh responded for Whitecaps FC late to secure a 1-1 draw for the visiting ‘Caps.

Since joining MLS in 2011, Whitecaps FC have posted a 3W-1L-6D record against Chivas USA, who have yet to win a match at BC Place.

NEXT UP

Next week is going to be a busy one for Whitecaps FC, who visit Toronto FC on Wednesday, July 16 before heading to Utah for a meeting with Real Salt Lake on Saturday, July 19. The ‘Caps will return to BC Place on Saturday, July 27 against FC Dallas.

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 ($184), 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.