Looking to build on an important weekend victory over Real Salt Lake this evening, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-7L-7D) host Western Conference rivals FC Dallas (6W-11L-8D) for a second time this season on Wednesday night.
As Major League Soccer clubs put their drive towards securing an MLS Cup Playoff spot into gear, Whitecaps FC are keen to reach the 40-point mark by claiming a second straight win over The Hoops on Bell Pitch at BC Place. On April 21, Camilo Sanvezzo’s early goal gave Vancouver a 1-0 win over Dallas at BC Place.
CANADIAN WNT HONOURED
'Caps alums Sophie Schmidt and Emily Zurrer and Maple Ridge native Karina LeBlanc will be honoured at Wednesday's match for their recent achievements at the 2012 Olympic Summer Games. Prior to the match, the three members of Canada's bronze medal-winning Canadian women's national team will be signing autographs at the Bell Box on Terry Fox Plaza along with Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit.
Over 70 former members of Whitecaps FC will be in attendance at Wednesday’s match, as the Blue and White honour the club’s alumni at BC Place. Former players and staff from all eras of the club’s long and storied history since 1974 will gather for a private reception and take in the FC Dallas contest.
Wednesday’s match will also be the second time this season that Whitecaps FC will wear their third kit of Arbutus brown in an MLS match.
Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas at BC Place 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 Whitecaps FC tickets.
Whitecaps FC's home match versus FC Dallas can also be seen live on TSN and Bell mobile devices at 7 p.m. PT. '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. Fans can also follow Wednesday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.
It is another challenging week for Martin Rennie’s side, but one that could add more clarity to Whitecaps FC’s playoff situation. Vancouver will not only look to close the gap on Western Conference frontrunners San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake, they will be aware of chasing sides like Dallas, who are keen to get into the conference’s postseason positions. With an impressive 7W-1L-4D home record, Whitecaps FC will also want to build on that mark before playing the next four matches away from home.
There will be changes to Rennie’s starting line-up on Wednesday. International call-ups for striker Darren Mattocks and winger Dane Richards (both Jamaica) means the pair are unavailable to face The Hoops. Youngster Russell Teibert (Canada), centre back Carlyle Mitchell (Trinidad & Tobago), and striker Etienne Barbara (Malta) will also miss the Dallas match because of international duty. Further changes in midfield will be required, as Rennie will be without the suspended Gershon Koffie, who misses tonight’s game because of caution accumulation. There is also concern over the fitness of captain Jay DeMerit, who is listed as questionable with concussion symptoms in the weekend win over RSL. Omar Salgado also remains sidelined with a right foot fracture.
Those absences may provide an opportunity for some of the club’s latest additions to earn their first starts for the Blue and White. Striker Kenny Miller has appeared as a substitute in the last three matches and could feature, while former Republic of Ireland international Andy O’Brien could be in consideration for his first MLS start after replacing DeMerit as a substitute on Saturday. Rennie can also draw on the experienced pair of Atiba Harris and John Thorrington, who are available after recent injury lay-offs.
Though it has been a turbulent season for The Hoops, Schellas Hyndman’s side remain in sight of the Western Conference’s playoff positions after an important home 3-2 win over fellow conference strugglers Colorado Rapids. The result leaves the Texas-based outfit 10 points adrift of the top five in the west. Among the weekend goalscorers was dynamic midfielder David Ferreira, whose return to fitness is a welcome sight for Dallas fans. The Colombian international - who was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2010 - was sidelined for more than a year with a serious ankle fracture. The attacking abilities of Ferreira and fellow Colombian Fabián Castillo are important to Dallas, as Hyndman has been without the services of Dallas’ leading goalscorer Blas Perez (foot) in recent weeks.
Like Vancouver, Dallas have been impacted by this week’s schedule of international friendly matches. They arrive on Canada’s west coast without three key players in talented youngster Brek Shea (United States), recent acquisition Julian de Guzman (Canada), and defender Carlos Rodriguez (Panama). They join centre back Ugo Ihemelu (concussion symptoms) and fellow defender Alex Lee (lower abdominal) in missing the Vancouver trip, while Jackson Goncalves (concussion symptoms) and fellow Brazilian Ricardo Villar (foot) are listed as doubtful.
Wednesday’s match will be the fourth meeting between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas, with both clubs first playing each other in MLS last season. The inaugural match-up at Empire Field on April 23, 2011, saw the Texas outfit come from a goal down to win 2-1. Alain Rochat gave the 'Caps a 1-0 halftime lead with his first-ever goal for Vancouver, but a George John equalizer early in the second half set up substitute Eric Avila's winning strike. FC Dallas followed that result with a 2-0 home win over Whitecaps FC on October 15, 2011. Goals by Marvin Chavez and Shea gave The Hoops all three points at FC Dallas Stadium.
Before joining MLS last year, Whitecaps FC played teams from Dallas, Texas, in the old North American Soccer League (NASL), with Vancouver registering an 11W-5L-0D record versus Dallas Tornado between 1974 and 1981. This included a home record of 7W-1L-0D. During Whitecaps FC's run to the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl title, Vancouver eliminated the Tornado in the National Conference playoff quarterfinals. The midweek match will also be the 51st time that Whitecaps FC have played a club from the state of Texas. At home, Vancouver have dominated clubs from The Lone Star State with an all-time record of 22W-2L-2D for an overall record of 30W-16L-4D all-time.
There are several connections between Vancouver and Dallas. Whitecaps FC director of soccer operations Tom Soehn played for FC Dallas (known then as Dallas Burn) from 1996 to 1998 and was part of the team that won the 1997 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title. In 2010, Harris played a key role in leading FC Dallas to the MLS Cup final. It was that same year that FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz was teammates with the Whitecaps FC duo of goalkeeper Brad Knighton and left fullback Jordan Harvey at Philadelphia Union. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon and FC Dallas striker Scott Sealy were teammates at San Jose Earthquakes in 2008 and 2010.
As Western Conference rivals, Wednesday’s match is the second of three regular season meetings between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas in 2012. Both clubs will clash for a third and final time at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday, September 15.
THEN DOWN TO SEATTLE…
Following the midweek clash with FC Dallas, Whitecaps FC make the short trip down Interstate 5 to The Emerald City for a crucial Cascadia Cup encounter versus Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff from CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, is set for 1 p.m. PT and can be seen live on TSN2 and Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 11 a.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 3 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow Saturday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.
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