Coming off an eventful weekend home draw, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1W-1L-1D) return to Major League Soccer action this Wednesday night, as they host the unbeaten New England Revolution (1W-0L-2D) at Empire Field.
Teitur Thordarson's side will be looking to build on Saturday's dramatic 3-3 home draw with Sporting Kansas City by taking on another MLS Eastern Conference opponent in Steve Nicol's Revolution in East Vancouver. The midweek contest also continues a busy week of action for Whitecaps FC, with a trip to Houston Dynamo still to come at the weekend. Wednesday's game is also the first evening match that the 'Caps will play at Empire Field this season.
Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and New England Revolution at Empire Field kicks off at 7 p.m. PT. Individual match tickets start at $20, plus applicable service charges, and are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, and Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.855.646.2277). CLICK HERE for more information on individual match tickets for the club's inaugural MLS season.
Whitecaps FC's home match versus New England Revolution can also be seen live on TSN and Bell mobile devices at 7 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to the April 6 contest live on TEAM 1410 radio 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, which will begin following the match at around 9 p.m. PT.
The joy of earning a draw in soccer usually occurs when a side claims such a result right at the end of the match. What occurred at Empire Field on Saturday was more pandemonium than mere joy. Down 3-1 to Sporting KC in time added on, MLS Player of the Week Camilo scored twice to earn the Blue and White a point and complete one of the more memorable matches in MLS history. The Brazilian's accolades were well deserved, as he tormented Kansas City throughout the course of the game with his work rate, skill, and willingness to strike at goal.
It was Camilo's first MLS start on Saturday, and the South American's efforts will have Thordarson pondering his options in attack, with Designated Player Eric Hassli available to face New England after serving a one-match suspension on Saturday following his red card at Philadelphia Union the weekend before. With Atiba Harris also performing well versus Sporting KC, it will be interesting to see what striker combination will face New England.
The impact of Saturday's substitutions in Davide Chiumiento and Nizar Khalfan was also pivotal to Vancouver's turnaround of a three-goal deficit. With Wes Knight and Blake Wagner putting in solid performances in the wide midfield positions, Thordarson is sure to look at his midfield options carefully as well.
Vancouver will be without MLS SuperDraft pick Michael Nanchoff for Wednesday's match, as he continues to recover from a groin strain. Captain Jay DeMerit (groin) and fellow centre back Greg Janicki (hip) are questionable to face New England, while midfielders Shea Salinas (knee) and John Thorrington (quad) as listed as probable.
The 'Caps are without youngsters Omar Salgado (USA) and Russell Teibert (Canada) for Wednesday's game, with the pair facing quarterfinal action for their respective countries at the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Guatemala this week.
Having missed the playoffs for the first time in a decade last season, New England Revolution have made a bright start to their campaign. The Revolution earned a creditable 1-1 draw at LA Galaxy to start the season before returning home and claiming a 2-1 win over D.C. United (March 26) and a 1-1 draw with expansion side Portland Timbers on Saturday.
An original MLS club, the Revolution boast American businessman Robert Kraft as their owner and former Liverpool FC defender Nicol as their head coach. The former Scotland international has overseen a bit of a rebuilding job in his tenth season in charge, with New England bringing in several new faces for 2011. This included the arrivals of experienced French pair Ousmane Dabo and Didier Domi, and the selections of defender A.J. Soares and midfielder Stephen McCarthy in this year's MLS SuperDraft.
Key players to look for in the Revolution squad include MLS All-Star defender Kevin Alston and captain Shalrie Joseph. With Nicol playing a 4-3-3 formation, Zak Boggs, Sainey Nyassi, and Zack Schilawski have led the attack in New England's past two matches.
The Revolution will be without Matt Reis for Wednesday's match after the experienced goalkeeper picked up an adductor strain. Dabo (quad), Franco Coria (hamstring), Marko Perovic (hamstring), and Andrew Sousa (quad) are all listed as doubtful for Nicol's side.
Wednesday's match will be the first-ever meeting between Whitecaps FC and the Revolution. Vancouver take on New England in the return league match at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 14.
There are some ties between both sets of players. 'Caps centre back Greg Janicki and Revolution striker Kheli Dube were members of United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League club Michigan Bucks in 2006. Wagner and Alston, meanwhile, were part of the United States squad that appeared at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru. 'Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon and Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane were former teammates at San Jose Earthquakes.
Whitecaps FC have history of playing clubs from the state of Massachusetts, with the Blue and White registering a 1W-2L-0D record in the old North American Soccer League. This included a win and a defeat versus Boston Minutemen in 1974 and 1975, as well as a 2-0 away defeat to New England Tea Men in 1978.
THEN OFF TO TEXAS…
Following Wednesday's home match, Whitecaps FC travel to Texas this weekend for a first-ever meeting with two-time MLS Cup winners Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. PT and is live on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to the April 10 contest live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 6 p.m. PT.
Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer 2011 season tickets are available at a pro-rated price, starting at $285, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order, and more than 60 per cent of seats are available for less than $31 per game. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, suites, and loge boxes, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com.