VAN v LA

In-form Whitecaps FC motivated to face Galaxy's big guns

VANCOUVER, BC – With a five-match unbeaten streak under their belts, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are ready to take on the champs when they meet LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center on Saturday (7:30 pm PT, TSN/MLS Live).

Unlike Wednesday’s match against New York Red Bulls, however, when Rafa Márquez and Thierry Henry failed to make the trip to Vancouver due to injury, it’s expected that all three of the Galaxy’s Designated Players (David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan) will play some part in Saturday’s match.

“In a sense, we can use that to help get us up for the game,” midfielder John Thorrington told reporters. “We know there’ll be a good crowd. We know we’re playing against world-class players and that’s a good test for us. We can use that as motivation and something to look forward to.”

The match is the first game of a five-game stretch away from BC Place. Past success at the HDC, where Vancouver picked up its first-ever road win against Chivas USA this season, is something the team can draw upon, according to head coach Martin Rennie.

“We’ve got happy memories about that and we just want to make sure we focus on doing the right things and see if we can get ourselves another win on the road,” Rennie said. “We’ve done well on the road this season – 2-2-2 so far I think – which is good form. I feel like we’re set up to have a good game on Saturday.”

One player expected to return to the starting lineup is lightning quick rookie Darren Mattocks, who missed out on Wednesday’s match after an ejection for two yellow cards against the Colorado Rapids in the previous match.

“You always feel like he can get you a goal,” Rennie said of the Jamaican. “On the road he could be a big threat with his pace and his movement, especially when we don’t have to make the game quite so much. I’ve noticed the last couple of teams coming and sitting very deep against us, which shows good respect for how much we’ve improved as a team, but Darren brings that different dimension which could be useful.”

Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.

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