Preview: Whitecaps FC looking to continue climb up standings Saturday against Chivas USA
VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7W-4L-11D) will look to continue their climb up the Western Conference standings on Saturday, when they visit Chivas USA (6W-11L-5D) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 7:30 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 5:30 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 2-0 Sporting Kansas City
The ‘Caps enter Saturday’s contest unbeaten in five matches, after a 2-0 win over defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City last weekend at BC Place. Whitecaps FC took an early advantage through an SKC own goal, before Darren Mattocks doubled their lead in the 39th minute.
It was the Jamaican’s fourth goal in five matches and sixth on the season, which is one back of the career high he set as a rookie. Chilean midfielder Pedro Morales picked up his ninth assist of the season on the goal, tying the club record in MLS.
Morales’ nine assists are also just one back of league leader Thierry Henry. The ‘Caps Designated Player now has a combined total of 16 goals and assists this season, which is third best in all of MLS.
“You have to tip your hat to Pedro,” said Whitecaps FC defender Steven Beitashour. “He’s a great player. He sees things that a lot of people don’t. And to be able to actually pull it off, that’s another story.”
The win against SKC was Vancouver's second straight clean sheet and sixth of the season. It also moved the 'Caps back up into the fifth and final playoff position in the Western Conference with 32 points from 22 matches.
Whitecaps FC have now lost just twice in their last 16 matches and only four times all season, which is tied with LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake for the least amount of losses in MLS.
“The result [against SKC] is only a very good result if we follow it up with another good performance and a good road victory hopefully,” head coach Carl Robinson told reporters this week. “We know it’s going to be a very tough game, a different game. We have to make sure we go into this game with the same mentality, mindset and focus that we did last Sunday.”
“He was at the latter part of his preseason so he still doesn’t have a full preseason under his belt,” Robinson said. “We’ll analyze it every day but he’s going to be a big asset for this football club moving forward.”
Last match: Portland Timbers 2-0 Chivas USA
Although Chivas USA have already matched last season’s win total with six, things aren’t looking too bright heading into the final third of the season.
The Goats currently sit alone at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with 23 points from 22 matches, nine points back of fifth-place Vancouver. They’re also winless in four and have been shut out in three straight matches – a 276-minute stretch.
One of the bright spots for Chivas USA this season has been the play of striker Erick Torres, who’s tied for second in the league with 14 goals. The Mexican has scored in each of his three appearances against Whitecaps FC over the last two seasons.
“We have to be aware of him,” Mattocks told reporters this week. “He’s been fantastic. We have to take that into consideration. There are no weak teams in this conference. We have to approach every single game like it’s a final.”
Despite Torres’ scoring prowess, Chivas USA’s 21 goals are the fewest in the league. The rest of the team has only combined to score half of Torres’ 14 tallies.
At the other end of the park, the Goats have been a little shorthanded with centre backs Carlos Bocanegra (concussion) and Bobby Burling (medial menisectomy) sidelined due to injury. Bocanegra, the team’s captain, has missed the last three matches, while Burling has been out for five matches.
July 12, 2014: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-3 Chivas USA
This will be the third and final meeting between Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA this season. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw at the StubHub Center back in March, before the Goats handed the 10-men ‘Caps a 3-1 defeat last month at BC Place.
“The first game we played against them early in the season was a bit of a nothing game,” Robinson said.
“They went down to 10 men, we conceded a sloppy goal and then got back into it. In the second game, I thought we thoroughly dominated the game. We just didn’t win the game. So we have to make sure whatever the outcome in relation to our performance, we come out with a result because that’s the most important thing.”
Since joining MLS, Whitecaps FC have posted a 3W-2L-6D record against Chivas USA.
The ‘Caps return to the StubHub Center next Saturday, August 23 – only this time, they’ll be up against Western Conference powerhouse LA Galaxy. Whitecaps FC will be back at BC Place on Saturday, August 30, to host Cascadia rival Portland Timbers. 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.