Three nights after playing the best side in Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-2D) wrap up a busy week of league action Saturday night when they host FC Dallas (3W-2L-1D) in a key Western Conference clash on Bell Pitch at BC Place.
Martin Rennie’s side are looking to wrap up a busy week by shaking off a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to MLS and Eastern Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night. They host an FC Dallas side that come to Vancouver on a two-match winning streak and looking to maintain themselves as one of the clubs to beat in the Western Conference.
Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas at BC Place kicks off at 7 p.m. PT. Individual match tickets start at $20, plus applicable service charges, and are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, and Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.855.646.2277). CLICK HERE for more information on Whitecaps FC tickets.
Whitecaps FC's home match versus FC Dallas can also be seen live on Sportsnet Pacific and Bell mobile devices at 7 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio 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, which will begin following the match. Fans can also follow Saturday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.
This week was an opportunity for Whitecaps FC to establish their season credentials, but the Blue and White were left disappointed by their efforts against Sporting KC. While the 3-1 result had an element of misfortune to it, the desire to return to winning ways was the first thought in the minds of Rennie and his players after the midweek setback. Making a good start to this weekend’s game and getting the BC Place crowd behind them will be essential to earning a second home win of 2012.
One interesting aspect is the number of options that Rennie can choose from for the visit of FC Dallas, as his squad continues to get healthier. Coupled with some encouraging performances off the substitutes’ bench on Wednesday, the Scottish coach will give serious thought to adding some fresh legs to his starting XI. Among those for consideration is a fit-again Camilo Sanvezzo and youngster Omar Salgado. Both played a role in Sebastien Le Toux’s late consolation goal versus Sporting KC and the pair will be keen to help kick-start Vancouver’s goalscoring attack, with Whitecaps FC nearing a busy few weeks of league and Amway Canadian Championship action.
Whitecaps FC are without goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre and defender Alain Rochat (both knee), as well as striker Darren Mattocks (shoulder and arm burns) for Saturday’s game. Midfielder Michael Nanchoff (heel) and striker Etienne Barbara (groin) are listed as doubtful.
After making a slow start to their 2012 campaign, FC Dallas have found a bit of form ahead of their trip to Canada’s west coast. Late victories at home to Eastern Conference club New England Revolution and MLS expansion side Montreal Impact took Schellas Hyndman’s side into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. Saturday’s match also starts a challenging stretch of five straight games against conference foes for The Hoops, with key battles against Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, and Seattle Sounders FC to follow their clash with Whitecaps FC.
Hyndman’s side includes plenty of MLS experience and some of the league’s most talented players. Goalkeeper Kevin Hartman is in his 16th MLS season, while captain Ugo Ihemelu and highly-touted centre back George John have been dependable anchors in the FC Dallas backline. The Hoops’ midfield includes veteran Daniel Hernandez and rising American star Brek Shea, while new signing Blas Perez currently leads FC Dallas in goals and assists with three each. The Texas outfit were also given a further boost by the return of the versatile Jackson Gonçalves following his loan spell at Cruzeiro Esporte Clube in his native Brazil. The former São Paulo FC utility man had four goals and two assists in 28 appearances for FC Dallas last season.
The Hoops are without Colombian playmaker David Ferreira and Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Villar (both foot), as well as striker Andrew Wiedeman (sports hernia) for Saturday’s match. Midfielder Andrew Jacobson (hamstring) is listed as questionable.
Saturday’s match will be the third meeting between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas, with both clubs first playing each other in MLS last season. The inaugural match-up at Empire Field on April 23, 2011, saw the Texas outfit come from a goal down to win 2-1. Rochat gave the 'Caps a 1-0 halftime lead with his first-ever goal for Vancouver, but a John equalizer early in the second half set up substitute Eric Avila's winning strike. FC Dallas followed that result with a 2-0 home win over Whitecaps FC on October 15, 2011. Goals by Marvin Chavez and Shea gave The Hoops all three points at FC Dallas Stadium.
Before joining MLS last year, Whitecaps FC previously played teams from Dallas, Texas. During the days of the old North American Soccer League (NASL), Vancouver registered an 11W-5L-0D record versus Dallas Tornado between 1974 and 1981. This included a home record of 7W-1L-0D. During Whitecaps FC's run to the 1979 NASL Soccer Bowl title, Vancouver eliminated the Tornado in the National Conference playoff quarterfinals. The weekend match will also be the 49th time that Whitecaps FC have played a club from the state of Texas. At home, Vancouver have dominated clubs from The Lone Star State with an all-time record of 20W-2L-2D for an overall record of 28W-16L-4D all-time.
There are several connections between Vancouver and Dallas. Whitecaps FC director of soccer operations Tom Soehn played for FC Dallas (known then as Dallas Burn) from 1996 to 1998 and was part of the team that won the 1997 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title. In 2010, ‘Caps striker Atiba Harris played a key role in leading FC Dallas to the MLS Cup final. It was that same year that FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz was teammates with the Whitecaps FC trio of goalkeeper Brad Knighton, left fullback Jordan Harvey, and striker Sébastien Le Toux at Philadelphia Union. Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon and FC Dallas striker Scott Sealy were teammates at San Jose Earthquakes in 2008 and 2010.
As Western Conference rivals, Saturday’s match is the first of three regular season meetings between Whitecaps FC and FC Dallas in 2012. Whitecaps FC will host FC Dallas again at BC Place on Wednesday, August 15, before the two clubs clash at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday, September 15.
…THEN OFF TO OHIO
Following Saturday's home match with FC Dallas, Whitecaps FC are back on the road for their next two matches, starting with a trip to the Ohio state capital for their only MLS regular season meeting versus Eastern Conference club Columbus Crew on Saturday, April 28. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. PT and is live on Sportsnet Pacific, as well as Bell mobile devices. 'Caps fans can also listen to the April 28 contest live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2:30 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 6:30 p.m. PT.
Whitecaps FC are pleased to announce that three new match packs for the 2012 season are now on sale. Starting at the affordable price of $119, match packs include five Major League Soccer regular season matches and offer significant savings over individual match prices. To purchase your match pack, call 604.669.9283 ext. 3, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information on match packs, visit whitecapsfc.com/match-packs.