Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11W-10L-9D – seventh overall) will meet Carolina RailHawks (16W-7L-7D – second overall) in the first round of the 2009 United Soccer Leagues First Division (USL-1) playoffs next week.
After clinching a postseason berth for the 13th consecutive year, the Whitecaps begin the defence of their USL-1 championship title by taking on Carolina in a two-match, aggregate score series. Vancouver will host the first leg of the series at Swangard Stadium on Thursday, September 24, at 7:30 p.m. PDT. The second leg will take place at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, on Sunday, September 27. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. PDT.
The top seven clubs in the USL-1 regular season standings secured their places in this year's playoffs, with Commissioner's Cup winners Portland Timbers having earned a first-round bye after claiming top spot. The first round will consist of three two-match, aggregate score series, with second meeting seventh, third meeting sixth, and fourth meeting fifth.
The three first-round winners will then be joined by Portland in the playoff semifinals, with the Timbers facing the lowest remaining seed. The semifinals will also be a two-match, aggregate score series, with matches taking place between the dates of Thursday, October 1, and Sunday, October 4. The 2009 USL-1 Championship Final will also be a two-match, aggregate score series. The first leg will take place during the Thanksgiving weekend of October 10 and 11, while the second leg will be played on the following weekend of October 17 and 18.
Having set a club record of 12 sell-out matches during the 2009 season, the Whitecaps encourage their fans to secure their tickets early for the USL-1 first round, first leg, playoff game. Whitecaps tickets start at just $18 and are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at whitecapsfc.com and ticketmaster.ca, or by phone at 604.669.WAVE (9283).