Heading into the final month of the 2012 Major League Soccer regular season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-12L-9D) host Western Conference rivals Chivas USA (7W-16L-7D) for the first and only time this season on Wednesday night.
After claiming two draws during their end-of-season home stand, Martin Rennie’s side are keen to return to the win column and take a step closer to the MLS Cup Playoffs when they host their opponents from Southern California. In what will be the first-ever league meeting between Whitecaps FC and The Goats on Bell Pitch at BC Place, Chivas USA arrive on Canada’s west coast with their postseason lives on the line after a difficult 2012 campaign.
Wednesday's match between Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA 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 Chivas USA can also be seen live on Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet West, and Bell mobile devices at 7 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to Wednesday’s match live on TEAM 1040 radio (change from TEAM 1410) and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 6 p.m. PT. TEAM 1040 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 9 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow Wednesday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.
As the race to the postseason becomes ever more intriguing, Whitecaps FC’s task on Wednesday is just as straight forward as the last few matches. This time around, a second victory of the season over Chivas USA would not only extend the gap to five points between Vancouver and sixth-place FC Dallas for the fifth and final playoff spot in the MLS Western Conference, they would also eliminate three clubs from postseason contention. A win over Chivas USA would end their hopes of making this year’s MLS Cup Playoffs, as well as the hopes of Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers. A draw with The Goats would also eliminate them and Portland, while Colorado would be hanging on by a thread, as they would trail Whitecaps FC by nine points with three matches remaining.
Much of the talk surrounding Rennie’s side concerns the fitness of rookie striker Darren Mattocks. The young Jamaican international was forced out of Saturday’s goalless home draw with Seattle Sounders FC with a strain in his right hamstring and is questionable for Wednesday’s match. That could see Camilo Sanvezzo return to the starting XI after the Brazilian looked a threat off the substitutes’ bench over the weekend. Speedy winger Dane Richards also available for selection after sitting out the Seattle match through suspension for caution accumulation. With Mattocks and midfielder John Thorrington (out with a left hamstring strain) on the sidelines, Rennie will likely bring Richards back into his midfield set-up to face The Goats.
The ‘Caps will aim to approach this midweek clash with the same confidence and application that was seen in their weekend performance versus arch-rivals Seattle. Not only did the Blue and White create chances to win the match, they also earned a confidence-boosting 10th clean sheet of the season. With the international break to follow Wednesday’s match, Whitecaps FC will want to head into the two-and-a-half weeks off in high spirits with an important home result.
Whitecaps FC’s other injury concern is striker Etienne Barbara. The Maltese international will miss Wednesday’s match with lower back pain.
2012 has proven to be a difficult second season for Robin Fraser as Chivas USA head coach, with The Goats facing a third-straight year without playoff soccer. They travel to Vancouver this week on a 10-match winless run in MLS, including six straight league defeats. This despite a fine run in this year’s Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, where they reached the semifinals before falling to Seattle on July 11. Despite their struggles, The Goats have had two competitive games with Whitecaps FC and will want to restore some pride at BC Place following a 4-0 home defeat to Real Salt Lake last Saturday evening.
With an attack that includes promising American youngster Juan Agudelo and veteran Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel, Chivas USA’s struggles can be attributed in large part to a lack of goal production, as they have scored the fewest goals of any MLS club this season (21). That may come as a bit of a surprise when you consider the qualities in Fraser’s strike force and some of the other experienced MLS players that he acquired during the campaign. Former New York Red Bulls striker Agudelo and former Philadelphia Union captain Danny Califf arrived on the west coast on May 17, while former New England Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph arrived at The Home Depot Center in a deal that saw midfielder Blair Gavin head the other way on August 1. The Goats also have an MLS All-Star in Dan Kennedy, who is considered one of the league’s top goalkeepers.
Chivas USA will be without midfielder Ryan Smith (concussion) in Vancouver, while goalkeeper Tim Melia is doubtful with lower back pain. Defender Jorge Villafaña (calf) and midfielder Ben Zemanski (ankle) are listed as probable.
Wednesday’s match is the fifth MLS meeting between Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA, with Vancouver having won and drawn their two previous encounters at The Home Depot Center this season. On March 17, the ‘Caps claimed their first away win as an MLS club with a 1-0 victory over The Goats. Captain Jay DeMerit’s first goal for Whitecaps FC was enough to earn three valuable away points in Week Two. On July 7, the ‘Caps had to settle for a goalless draw with Chivas USA in Carson, California. Since becoming an MLS club in 2011, Whitecaps FC have an undefeated record of a 1W-0L-3D versus Chivas USA.
While there is not much history between the two clubs, there are many ties between both sets of players. Whitecaps FC striker Atiba Harris spent two seasons with Chivas USA, while Salgado was in the youth system of Chivas USA’s parent club – Mexican giants Club Deportivo (Chivas) Guadalajara. Chivas USA’s Peter Vagenas made 16 appearances for Whitecaps FC during their inaugural MLS season of 2011, while striker Alejandro Moreno was a Vancouver selection in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft before he was traded to The Goats. The South American was also teammates with Chivas USA centre back Danny Califf, Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Brad Knighton, and ‘Caps left fullback Jordan Harvey during Philadelphia Union’s inaugural MLS season of 2010. Harvey was also teammates with Goats midfielder Nick LaBrocca at Colorado Rapids. ‘Caps midfielder Michael Nanchoff played with Chivas USA’s Ben Zemanski at the University of Akron.
12% DAYS: TIME RUNNING OUT!
Whitecaps FC fans have until midnight Pacific time on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3 to take advantage of our special offer on 2013 Season Tickets. As a ‘thank you’ to our fans for their continued support, those who purchase Season Tickets between now and MIDNIGHT WEDNESDAY will receive a special signing bonus of 12 per cent off. Fans can take advantage of this offer and renew or purchase their Season Tickets online at whitecapsfc.com or by phone at 604.669.9283.
FIFA SOCCER 13 DISCOUNT OFFER
Whitecaps FC fans will be able to get a $10 discount on the purchase of FIFA Soccer 13 when they bring Wednesday's match ticket to any EB Games location in the Lower Mainland.
Thanks to one of our Founding Partners, EA SPORTS, 'Caps supporters will be able to use their Chivas USA ticket to redeem a discount until this Saturday, October 6.
As MLS enters the final month of the 2012 regular season, league clubs and players will be raising awareness of breast cancer during October. On Wednesday night, Whitecaps FC players will wear customized jerseys and pink sweatbands, while Vancouver and Chivas USA will contest their midweek match using customized pink balls supplied by the league.
During Wednesday’s match, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - BC/Yukon Division - will have an interactive booth on ‘Caps Kick Off, as well as a silent auction table on the concourse at Section 235 running throughout the game.
A BREAK, THEN PORTLAND ARRIVE…
Following Wednesday’s match with Chivas USA, Whitecaps FC will be idle during this month’s international break before returning to action on Sunday afternoon, October 21, when they host Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers in their final regular season home match of 2012. Kickoff from BC Place is set for 4 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 Portland Timbers on Sunday, October 21, will be live on Bell mobile devices at 4 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to the October 21 match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 2 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 6 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow the October 21 match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.