Preview: Whitecaps FC return to California for important Western Conference tilt with LA Galaxy
VANCOUVER, BC – After a 0-0 road draw with Chivas USA, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (7W-4L-12D) return to the StubHub Center on Saturday for an important Western Conference tilt with LA Galaxy (10W-5L-7D).
The ‘Caps, who occupy the fifth and final playoff position, trail the fourth-place Galaxy by four points heading into Saturday’s meeting in Carson, California.
Not only would a win move Vancouver to within striking distance of the Galaxy, it could also potentially increase their lead to five points over Portland Timbers – the closest team behind them in the Western Conference playoff race.
Kickoff for Saturday’s match is set for 7:30 p.m. PT. 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 5:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show immediately following the match.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Last match: Chivas USA 0-0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
On the one hand, Whitecaps FC are undefeated in six matches and have posted three straight clean sheets. Their 321-minute shutout streak is the second longest in the club’s MLS history. The Blue and White are also tied with Real Salt Lake for the least amount of losses in MLS with just four in 23 matches.
On the other hand, the ‘Caps have just one win in their last seven matches and have been shut out in two of their last three matches.
Finding the right balance will be key to getting a result this weekend against the Galaxy.
If the ‘Caps are to come away with a result, however, they’ll have to find a way to do so without defensive midfielder Matias Laba. The Argentine will be serving his one-match suspension due to caution accumulation – just as he did in Vancouver’s 1-0 road loss to LA back in April.
In that game, Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert slotted in alongside Gershon Koffie in front of the back four, and the young Canadian could get the nod again this weekend. Teibert is coming off an impressive performance against Chivas USA, while head coach Carl Robinson said Koffie is still “day-to-day” with an ankle injury.
Chilean playmaker Pedro Morales, who was relegated to a substitute’s role against Chivas USA due to a tight hamstring, trained this week and could feature against the Galaxy. The same could be said for recently-acquired midfielder Mauro Rosales, who is expected to be involved.
Last match: Colorado Rapids 3-4 LA Galaxy
The Galaxy enter Saturday’s contest fourth in the Western Conference with 37 points, though they have at least one game in hand over the three teams above them.
Their most recent outing was a 4-3 comeback win over Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Down 3-1 at the half, LA scored three second-half goals to come away with the victory.
As the Rapids learned on Wednesday, Bruce Arena has plenty of firepower at his disposal that can cause some damage on any night. Robbie Keane, who leads MLS with a combined 22 goals and assists this season, and fellow attacking players Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes have combined to score 28 of LA’s 39 goals this season. Only FC Dallas have scored more goals this season.
At the other end of the park, the Galaxy have conceded seven goals in their last two matches, meaning there should be some opportunities for Whitecaps FC to counter.
Saturday will mark the third and final meeting between the ‘Caps and Galaxy this season.
Back in April, the two sides met in a home-and-home series. LA came away with a 1-0 victory in the first match at the StubHub Center and the second match ended in a 2-2 draw at BC Place.
Overall, the Galaxy hold a 7W-1L-2D edge over Whitecaps FC in regular season play (they also handed Vancouver a 2-1 defeat in the 2012 MLS Cup playoffs), though each of their last three victories were one-goal games.
Following their California road swing, Whitecaps FC will return to BC Place next Saturday, August 30 to host Cascadia rival Portland Timbers. As it stands, the ‘Caps are just two points up on the sixth-place Timbers with a game in hand.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT at BC Place. It was announced on Thursday that there were fewer than 1,000 tickets available.
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.