NEW YORK CITY, NY – Yankee Stadium, here we come.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-4L-2D) are off to the Bronx for their first-ever trip to the famed Yankee Stadium, where they will face New York City FC (1W-3L-4D) on Saturday afternoon.
KICKOFF: 1 p.m. PT | TV: TSN1 | RADIO: TSN 1040
Here’s everything you need to know about the match.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Saturday’s contest concludes a busy spell for the ‘Caps in which they’ll have played three matches in eight days. Last weekend, they defeated league-leading FC Dallas 3-0 before earning a 1-1 draw with Sporting KC on Wednesday after going down to 10 men early in the second half.
Centre back Kendall Waston was shown a red card in that one, meaning he’ll be unavailable on Saturday. That places a little more responsibility on the shoulders of Tim Parker, a Hicksville, New York native who is expecting over 300 friends and family members for his homecoming.
It will also be a special match for Whitecaps FC midfielder Andrew Jacobson, who spent last season with NYCFC before joining the 'Caps earlier this year.
NEW YORK CITY FC
New York’s second season in MLS hasn’t exactly gone to plan.
Under new head coach Patrick Vieira, a former player who spent time with the likes of Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan, and Manchester City, NYCFC have posted a 1W-3L-4D record. They won their season opener 4-3 over Chicago, but are winless in seven matches since.
They’re also coming off a midweek match – a 1-1 draw with Montreal at Yankee Stadium.
New York has a star-studded roster featuring the likes of Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and David Villa, who have played in a combined eight World Cups for their respective nations, though Lampard has yet to play this season due to injury.
Tim Parker (CB) vs. David Villa (FWD): The hometown boy vs. the star Designated Player. Villa leads NYCFC with four goals this season. He’s the biggest threat, hands down.
Matias Laba (M) vs. Andrea Pirlo (M): Laba will be tasked with limiting the impact of Pirlo, a true magician with the ball. Depending on how deep Pirlo drops, Vancouver’s attacking players might also have a big role in defending against the Italian playmaker.
Christian Bolaños (W)/Cristian Techera (W) vs. Ronald Matarrita (LB): Bolaños and Techera both looked bright in a midweek draw vs. Sporting KC – see Vancouver’s goal. There’s a good chance one of them will go head-to-head with Matarrita, a promising Costa Rican left back who leads NYCFC in touches and tackles.
This will be the second meeting between the two teams.
Their only other encounter was at BC Place in September of last year. It was an entertaining affair that ended in a 2-1 defeat for Vancouver after Laba conceded a controversial PK in stoppage time that Villa converted. Lampard also found the scoresheet on that night.
DID YOU KNOW?
Yankee Stadium has the smallest soccer field in all of MLS (100 yards long and 70 yards wide). Those are the smallest dimensions allowed as per FIFA guidelines. That means less time to make decisions, quicker counter-attacks, and potentially more dangerous long throw-ins.
In other words, less room for error.
DID YOU KNOW? X2
Whitecaps FC captain Pedro Morales and NYCFC star David Villa both scored in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Malaga on June 1, 2013.
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