Preview: Whitecaps FC headed east for midweek Canadian clash with Toronto FC at BMO Field
TORONTO, ON – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-4L-7D) will kick off the second half of their 2014 Major League Soccer season this Wednesday, when they visit Eastern Canadian rival Toronto FC (7W-5L-3D).
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 5 p.m. PT at BMO Field. 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 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.
Wednesday’s match could have implications beyond MLS, as the Canadian team with the most points at the end of the 2014 season will qualify for the 2015/2016 CONCACAF Champions League.
The ‘Caps are currently the top-ranked Canadian side with 25 points from 17 matches. But Toronto FC are right behind them with 24 points and two games in hand.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Last match: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-3 Chivas USA
After posting back-to-back clean sheets at home, Whitecaps FC suffered a 3-1 loss to Chivas USA this past weekend at BC Place.
Centre back Carlyle Mitchell scored his first MLS goal off a Pedro Morales corner – his team-leading seventh assist – but Chivas USA responded with three unanswered goals in the second half to secure the victory. Two of those three goals came after the ‘Caps were reduced to 10 men once Jordan Harvey was sent off for a tackle on Oswaldo Minda.
With Harvey suspended, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson will likely turn to either Sam Adekugbe or Christian Dean at left back on Wednesday. Dean, Vancouver’s first pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, has appeared in three MLS regular season matches as a substitute this season.
The 6-foot-3 defender also started both matches against Toronto FC in the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship semifinal – he played each of those matches at left back.
Adekugbe, meanwhile, has yet to appear for the first team this season, though he did play two matches with the Whitecaps FC U-23s earlier this month. The 19-year-old only recently returned to full training after suffering a knee injury in April.
“Over the next week, there will be players that get opportunities,” Robinson told reporters after the loss to Chivas USA. “There will. Obviously, we need to try and chase three points but we still have [17 games to go] … I’ll pick a team that I think can go out and win the game.”
The ‘Caps enter Wednesday’s match fifth in the Western Conference – just one point back of fourth-place FC Dallas.
Last match: Toronto FC 4-2 Houston Dynamo
The third-place Reds have been on quite the run over the last few months, losing just one match in their last eight regular season fixtures. Their most recent outing was a 4-2 win over Houston Dynamo this past weekend at BMO Field.
Houston took a 2-0 lead in the first half hour, before Toronto FC responded with four second-half tallies through Jonathan Osorio, Dominic Oduro, and a Jermain Defoe brace. Defoe now leads Toronto FC with 10 goals in 12 appearances.
Fellow Designated Player Michael Bradley sat out the Houston match, as he recovers from a four-match stint with the U.S. men’s national team at the recent 2014 FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, Designated Player Gilberto returned to action this past weekend as a substitute after missing a pair of matches with a hip flexor.
In Gilberto’s absence, newcomer Luke Moore has started six straight matches. The English striker has three goals in eight appearances this season.
On the injury front, Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen confirmed on Tuesday that centre back and captain Steven Caldwell has a quad tear and will be unavailable in the near future.
May 14, 2014: 'Caps fall in penalties in second leg of ACC semi
This will be the first and only regular season meeting between the Canadian rivals this season. However, the two sides did meet in the two-leg semifinal of the 2014 Amway Canadian Championship in May.
Toronto FC took the first leg by a score of 2-1 on home soil against a youth-filled ‘Caps side. The Blue and White responded with a victory of the same scoreline in the second leg at BC Place, but the Reds won the ensuing penalty shootout to advance to the Canadian Championship final.
In MLS competition, Vancouver and Toronto have split their four meetings to date. The home team has won each encounter.
The ‘Caps are right back at it this Saturday, July 19 for a Western Conference clash with Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah. Whitecaps FC return to BC Place next Sunday, July 27, when they host FC Dallas in an afternoon tilt at BC Place.
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.