In the middle of a busy spell of matches, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1W-4L-5D) make their first Major League Soccer trip to Foxborough, Massachusetts, for a return meeting with Eastern Conference club New England Revolution (2W-3L-4D) on Saturday night.
Teitur Thordarson's side are looking for another important away result, as they try to end their nine-match winless run in the league versus Steve Nicol's side. The Revolution have also had a turbulent start to the campaign, with New England having won just one league match in their last seven contests. The 'Caps will look to improve on last month's meeting with the Revolution, as nine-man Vancouver nearly held out for a second win of the season, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw on Bell Pitch at Empire Field.
Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and New England Revolution from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, kicks off at 4:30 p.m. PT and is live on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday's contest live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 6:30 p.m. PT.
Wednesday's home draw with San Jose Earthquakes may have thrilled 'Caps fans by the nature of how it was achieved, but the dissatisfaction of dropping league points at home was first and foremost on the minds of Thordarson's players. Confidence is key for the Blue and White at this stage, as they look to work their way through a very busy month of MLS and Nutrilite Canadian Championship action. The aim for Saturday will be to go one better than last weekend's draw at Chicago Fire and claim Vancouver's first away win in MLS.
With many of Whitecaps FC's matches taking place every three to four days at present, Thordarson is mindful of using his entire squad to work through this busy spell. This allowed right fullback Jonathan Leathers to earn a rest on Wednesday after appearing in every minute of the club's first 11 games, with Wes Knight putting in a solid performance in his place. With Gershon Koffie also earning a rest versus San Jose, MLS SuperDraft pick Jeb Brovsky put in another promising display in central midfield. Further good news to come out of the Earthquakes match was the return of captain Jay DeMerit. The United States international appeared as a second-half substitute against the Northern California outfit.
If there is a club that can understand the challenges that Vancouver are currently having in MLS, it is the Revolution. Since last meeting Whitecaps FC over a month ago, New England have registered one win, three defeats, and one draw in five MLS contests. It leaves the Revolution sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Last Saturday, the Revolution claimed a goalless draw at home to Colorado Rapids.
Nicol's side have added some new faces since their last encounter with the 'Caps. United States international Benny Feilhaber was claimed by New England through the MLS Player Allocation process last month after initially signing with the league. Liberian defender Otto Loewy also arrived recently at Gillette Stadium, as did Danish striker Rajko Lekic. Meanwhile, the goalscorer in New England's last encounter with Whitecaps FC will not be in Nicol's line-up this Saturday, as Serbian striker Ilija Stolica was sent out on loan to FC New York of the third-tier United Soccer Leagues (USL) Professional Division.
New England are without defender Didier Domi (quad), as well as midfielders Ousmane Dabo (adductor strain) and Marko Perovic (knee) for the visit of Vancouver.
Saturday's match will be the second all-time meeting between Whitecaps FC and the Revolution and the first contest between the two MLS clubs at Gillette Stadium. Their inaugural encounter at Empire Field on April 6 was a very eventful contest, as New England earned a very late 1-1 draw with Vancouver in a match that saw the 'Caps finish the match with nine men and the Revolution with ten men after match referee Baldomero Toledo issued three red cards.
Prior to this season, Whitecaps FC's history of playing clubs from the state of Massachusetts saw them register a 1W-2L-0D record in the old North American Soccer League. This included a win and a defeat at home versus Boston Minutemen in 1974 and 1975, as well as a 2-0 away defeat to New England Tea Men in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in 1978.
There are some ties between both sets of players. 'Caps centre back Greg Janicki and Revolution striker Kheli Dube were members of USL Premier Development League club Michigan Bucks in 2006. Blake Wagner and Kevin 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.
NEXT UP: NUTRILITE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Following Saturday's MLS trip to New England, Whitecaps FC will turn their focus back on their quest to win the Voyageurs Cup for the first time, as they host MLS rivals Toronto FC in the first leg of the 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship final on Wednesday night. Kickoff from Empire Field is set for 7 p.m. PT. Individual 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).
Wednesday's NCC match between Whitecaps FC and Toronto FC can also be seen live on Rogers Sportsnet and sportsnet.ca. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday's match 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.
Whitecaps FC fans now have the option of purchasing three exciting new match packs. Starting at just $159, the match pack options - GOING HOLLYWOOD, I (HEART) NY, LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR? - all include the Manchester City FC friendly match, valued at $60, and four coveted MLS matches. Aside from season tickets, which also include the Manchester City game, match packs are currently the only way to secure a ticket to the July 18 international friendly. For additional information on match packs, visit whitecapsfc.com/matchpacks.