Last time Vancouver Whitecaps FC played Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center, they made history, claiming their first-ever MLS road win. Today, they’ll look for an away double over their Western Conference rivals (7:30 pm PT, Sportsnet Pacific and watch LIVE online).
Since that 1-0 win on St. Patrick’s Day, the club have continued to travel well, claiming 11 points from eight matches, making them one of eight teams to have collected at least 10 points on the road this season.
GOAL: DeMerit scores winner against Chivas
“That first game I remember the team being very nervous and just struggling over the finish line and almost getting through that mental barrier of winning on the road,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters on Friday after a training session at the Home Depot Center.
“If the team hadn’t won on the road all last season, I’m sure that leaves a bit of a scar, so to get that win out of the way the first time we played on the road was very helpful and I think it probably has contributed to us doing reasonably well on the road since then.”
Captain Jay DeMerit was the undisputed man of the match that night, scoring the game winner and defending tightly at the back as Vancouver held only 35.4 percent of the ball and endured heavy pressure from Chivas.
“Going into that game, I remember thinking that was our first away game and let’s get that first away game out [of the way],” DeMerit said on Friday. “That was our mentality all week in preparation for that game and we’ll continue that mentality now.
“Any time you can go away from home and put in a solid performance is a major positive as you move forward in the long run. Chivas is a team we feel like if we play to our best we can get a good result from and hopefully we can do just that.”
Darren Mattocks, the match winner in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids, is unavailable for selection due to yellow card accumulation. But Rennie is confident whoever steps in will be capable of doing some damage up front.
“We are in some ways spoiled for choice in that position,” Rennie said. “So it doesn’t hamper us too much, but we would have rather had him available, especially after scoring – striker’s get confidence from scoring goals.”
Jun Marques Davidson should return to the lineup in his usual holding role, meaning his temporary replacement in that position, Alain Rochat, should slot back in at left fullback, with Jordan Harvey expected to make way.
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.