This is going to be fun!
Whitecaps FC will play Los Angeles FC in the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League.
The ‘Caps host the first leg on Wednesday, April 5 at BC Place, kicking off at 7 p.m. PT.
The return leg will be at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 11 at 7:15 p.m. PT.
Here are a few intriguing storylines to watch.
David vs. Goliath, or an even series?
Most pundits would peg this matchup as David vs. Goliath, as far as MLS terms go.
You’ve got LAFC, the defending Supporters Shield and MLS Cup champions, against a ‘Caps team that missed the playoffs in 2022. Vanni Sartini has called LAFC “probably the best team in North America”.
Would it surprise you to know then that the all-time series is dead even? 4W-4L-3D.
In fact, in their past six meetings the ‘Caps have the advantage at 3W-1L-2D.
They’ve been even better at home with a 4W-1L-0D all-time record (*3W-1L-0D at BC Place), with the only loss coming all the way back in their first meeting in 2018.
Who’s got the best Italian?
Let’s not pull punches here, Giorgio Chiellini is a legend.
The former Italian international has accomplished about everything a player can in the game. Serie A titles and UEFA Champions League finals, a European championship with Italy, and recently an MLS Cup title.
Vanni Sartini has brought personality and vibrancy to the ‘Caps sideline. And he lives for the big moments, even if that means pain for his fellow Italians as we saw last year when Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne visited BC Place.
Tristan Blackmon revenge tour
Tristan Blackmon has played for two clubs in his pro career. Vancouver Whitecaps FC and LAFC.
But that hasn’t stopped him from getting a little payback here and there.
In his first meeting against his old team, at his old home, he scored his first goal for the ‘Caps.
And in the Canadian Championship final against his former coach last year, he buried the winning penalty kick.
“I'm going to get the opportunity to win [the cup], and especially against people I know on the other side,” remembered Blackmon to whitecapsfc.com. “So there was a lot on the line not just for us, but for me personally.”
And here we were thinking this dude was chill.
Maxime Crepeau and Marc Dos Santos spent the better part of three seasons in Vancouver.
They helped push the club forward during a period of turbulence through the pandemic – having to spend much of their time living away in Orlando, Portland, and Salt Lake City.
But now they are on the other side.
Supporters were fired up for their first visit to BC Place last year, a late win for the ‘Caps.
What’s in store this time? Will Crepeau be back from his MLS Cup injury in time?
It’s the Champions League!
What else do you need?
To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. This is a shot at continental glory.
The winner of this series will play the winner of Mexico’s Atlas FC vs. Philadelphia Union in the semifinals next round.
The winner of the tournament will qualify for an expanded 32-team FIFA Club World Cup.
The stake are high, and these matches will be intense.