CASA GRANDE, ARIZONA – The wait is over.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC will play their first match of 2014 on Wednesday, when they kick off their preseason schedule with an afternoon contest against expansion North American Soccer League (NASL) side Indy Eleven.
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match between Whitecaps FC and Indy Eleven is set for 3 p.m. PT at Grande Sports Complex in Casa Grande, Arizona. The match will not be streamed online but live updates will be available on whitecapsfc.com via Twitter @WhitecapsFC. Also, whitecapsfc.com will have complete post-match coverage, including highlights and interviews.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Wednesday’s tilt with Indy Eleven will be Whitecaps FC’s first of seven preseason matches leading up to MLS First Kick on March 8. The match will be played at Grande Sports Complex in Casa Grande Arizona, where the ‘Caps are training until February 12.
Throughout the first week of preseason, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson has made it clear that he wants his team to play attacking, “free-flowing” soccer, but he said the focus in Casa Grande will be to start establishing a defensive posture.
“It’s been a very good first week but the demands are going to be stepped up the second week now as we look ahead and start playing games,” Robinson told reporters on Monday. “We’re going to put a defensive framework in, both individually and collectively, and that will start from the centre forwards.”
As for what type of lineup to expect, Robinson said he will look to use a number of the trialists and younger players in the first few matches of preseason.
“I’ve given them the opportunity to train with us and be in this environment so I’m going to take a close look at them in this game,” Robinson said. “If you judge them on training, then it’s a little bit unfair. You need to watch them in games as well.”
Wednesday’s meeting with Whitecaps FC will be Indy Eleven’s first match in club history. Founded in 2013, the Indianapolis, Indiana outfit are set to make their debut in the NASL this season.
The club currently has 11 players under contract, including former San Jose Earthquakes and Portland Timbers midfielder Brad Ring, but they also have a number of trialists available for selection.
Their head coach is Juergen Sommer, a former goalkeeper whose playing career included stints at New England Revolution, Columbus Crew, and Queens Park Rangers F.C.
Following their tilt with Indy Eleven, Whitecaps FC will meet Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT at the Grande Sports Complex and again on Sunday at Tucson Stadium.
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.