VANCOUVER, BC – After last weekend’s 1-1 draw with 10-men Chivas USA, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are back on the road on Saturday in an early morning meeting with New England Revolution.
Here are three storylines to get you prepped for the match:
New England’s 2014 roster features three former Whitecaps FC players: midfielders Daigo Kobayashi and Lee Nguyen and goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
Kobayashi, who joined the ‘Caps at the beginning of the 2013 season, and Knighton, who spent the last two seasons in Vancouver, were both dealt to New England in separate offseason transactions. Meanwhile, Nguyen made three preseason appearances with Whitecaps FC in 2012 before being waived prior to the season.
Nguyen and Kobayashi are two players who New England will rely upon this season for creativity from the midfield – a role that has been assumed by Pedro Morales in Vancouver. The impact these players make on Saturday could play a part in determining the final outcome.
Knighton, on the other hand, has yet to appear for New England in the regular season, but could potentially make his debut on the weekend.
If Teibert comes in, who comes out?
By all accounts, Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert will be available for selection against New England after missing last weekend’s match with a hamstring strain.
If that is indeed the case, then Carl Robinson has some interesting decisions to make. Assuming Teibert slots back in on the right wing, then that could mean that one of Darren Mattocks or Kenny Miller could end up on the outside looking in to start the match.
In Whitecaps FC’s season opener, Miller scored a brace while playing centrally behind Mattocks, while last weekend he took Teibert’s spot on the right wing. Mattocks, who now has a pair of assists this season, has started both matches as the lone striker.
Of course, Robinson could opt to switch to a 4-4-2 formation as he did when Kekuta Manneh was subbed on in the second half against Chivas, which would allow for both Mattocks and Miller to play up front in their natural striker positions.
Don’t let the goal-scoring funk fool you
The Revs have yet to score a goal in two matches this season, but as they showed in 2013, they’re a dangerous team that can strike at any time.
Last season, only two Eastern Conference teams scored more goals than New England, who were led offensively by youngsters Diego Fagundez and Kellyn Rowe. Their lone meeting with Whitecaps FC last season was a high-scoring affair, as the ‘Caps scored three first-half goals in a thrilling 4-3 victory at BC Place.
Now, the action shifts to Gillette Stadium, where New England will no doubt be looking to keep their seven-year undefeated in home openers streak alive.
Whitecaps FC season tickets start at the prorated price of just $331 and single-match tickets start at $22, 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.