VANCOUVER, BC – After a pair of matches at home, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-1L-2D) are back on the road this Saturday as they kick off a home-and-home series with LA Galaxy (1W-1L-1D).
Here are three storylines to get you prepped for the match.
If the ‘Caps want to come away with a result this weekend, they’ll have to find a way to shut down Irish international Robbie Keane. The Galaxy haven’t lost a game in which Keane scored since October 6, 2012 – that’s a 12-match unbeaten run when the striker puts up at least one goal.
Surely, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson and centre back Andy O’Brien will have a plan to contain Keane, who leads LA with two goals in three matches this season.
Robinson and Keane were teammates with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the late 90s, while O’Brien and Keane both represented the Republic of Ireland for five years.
Will familiarity breed success for Robinson and the ‘Caps?
Speaking shutting down Keane (not to mention U.S. national team star Landon Donovan, who is one goal away from becoming the all-time MLS goal leader), Robinson’s side will have to do so without defensive midfielder Matias Laba, who will be serving his one-game suspension for last weekend’s ejection.
Laba has played an important role in supporting the back line this season, but someone else will have to assume that role on Saturday. The two prime candidates are Nigel Reo-Coker, who has returned to full training after missing the last two matches with a concussion, and Gershon Koffie, who has filled in at times in a holding position over the last three seasons.
Alternatively, Robinson could opt to return to a 4-2-3-1 formation, which would allow for Reo-Coker and Koffie to play as a tandem in front of the back line.
Either way, the Laba-less ‘Caps will be in for a tough test.
SO WE MEET AGAIN
Since Whitecaps FC joined Major League Soccer in 2011, the powerhouse LA Galaxy have become one of the club’s biggest rivals outside of Cascadia. The West Coast foes have produced several memorable matches, including Whitecaps FC’s first-ever appearance in the MLS Cup playoffs.
For ‘Caps fans, however, last year’s 3-1 win at BC Place likely tops the list. Not only was it Vancouver’s first-ever win over the Galaxy in MLS play, it also saw Canadian midfielder Russell Teibert notch his first two professional goals.
With back-to-back meetings with the Galaxy on the horizon, are we in for another classic (or two)?
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC 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). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.