VANCOUVER, BC – After a two-and-a-half week World Cup break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-2L-6D) return to Major League Soccer action on Wednesday when they host longtime Canadian rival Montreal Impact (2W-7L-4D) at BC Place. Tickets: http://ow.ly/ymQny.
Kickoff for Wednesday’s match is set for 7 p.m. PT at BC Place. You can watch the match live on TSN, Bell mobile devices, and TSN GO. The match will also air live on TEAM 1410 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 immediately following the match.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "They're a very good team. They have very good individual players. The results maybe don't tell the whole story, but individually player for player they have a fantastic squad. We have to make sure we do our job on the defensive side but then also put our attacking play on them because I think they do have weaknesses on their team that we can maybe try to exploit."
Prior to the World Cup break, the ‘Caps were unbeaten in seven straight league fixtures – a new record for the club in MLS. Vancouver’s last loss came on April 12 at the hands of LA Galaxy.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Highlights: Philadelphia Union 3-3 Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Whitecaps FC’s last outing was a 3-3 draw with Philadelphia Union June 7 at PPL Park.
The visiting ‘Caps took a 2-0 lead in the first half through goals from Erik Hurtado and Nicolas Mezquida before conceding three straight goals after the break. Pedro Morales then leveled the scoreline with a penalty kick in the 81st minute to help the ‘Caps come away with another point.
Both Morales and Hurtado will be looking to continue their recent form this week against Montreal. Hurtado, who went goalless in his rookie season, has now scored in five straight games in all competition. Morales, meanwhile, has found the scoresheet in three straight games, recording three goals and three assists during that period.
With nine goals in their last three games, the ‘Caps are now averaging 1.92 goals per game – second best in MLS. They’re also second in the league with an average of 14.85 shots per game.
The ‘Caps will be without right back Steven Beitashour for the fourth straight game on Wednesday, as he’s currently at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with the Iranian national team. They will also be without captain Jay DeMerit, who suffered a torn tendon in his left ankle against the Union.
"That's a big loss for us and him as well," Robinson said. "But we've got [Andy O'Brien, Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell and Christian Dean]. There will be opportunities for two of them. It's about finding the right balance because we've conceded too many goals this year. I know we have. We're working on it on a daily basis, but trying not to work on it too much that we take the focus away from our attacking play."
Highlights: Montreal Impact 2-4 DC United
After qualifying for the post-season in 2013, things haven’t gone as planned for Montreal this season. With a 2W-7L-4D record, the Impact currently occupy the basement of MLS – though they have games in hand over most teams.
Montreal’s most recent outing was a 4-2 loss to DC United on June 11 at Stade Saputo. Jack McInerney and Andres Romero provided the scoring for the Impact. The two players, who have accounted for over half of Montreal’s goals, lead the team with four goals apiece.
Looking to turn things around, the Impact have made some changes in recent weeks. Among them, they acquired Canadian midfielder Issey Nakajima-Farran from Toronto FC and acquired Spanish midfielder Gorka Larrea. It was also reported that Designated Player Hernan Bernardello was close to a deal with Liga MX giants Cruz Azul. Though he's still a member of the Impact for the time being, the Argentine midfielder is unlikely to play on Wednesday.
Despite their MLS struggles, the Impact claimed their second straight Amway Canadian Championship title earlier this month by defeating Toronto FC 2-1 on aggregate in the two-legged final. Midfielder Justin Mapp, who leads the Impact with four assists in league play, was named the Canadian Championship MVP for the second straight year.
The American midfielder missed Montreal's last outing with a groin injury, however, and his status for Wednesday's match is unknown.
HEAD TO HEAD
The rivalry between Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact stretches back over two decades. Since 1993, the two teams have met on 59 occasions – Montreal holds the edge with 29W-18L-12D record. The ‘Caps have won each of their two meetings with the Impact in MLS play, however, outscoring them 5-0 in the process.
Wednesday’s match kicks off a busy stretch for the Blue and White, in which they will play six games in the span of four weeks. Next up for Whitecaps FC is a meeting with Colorado Rapids this Saturday, June 28. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($220), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets, and a youth soccer half-season ticket. 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.