VANCOUVER, BC - It's a rivalry dating back 40 years, albeit in different leagues and between different incarnations of the club names.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC and San Jose Earthquakes meet at BC Place on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m. PT, TSN2), with the home side set to honour the 40th anniversary of the first match played by the original Whitecaps in NASL action in 1974, coincidentally against the Earthquakes.
Underlying all the fun festivities planned for the day is the serious business of securing three points.
"It's just about continuing to keep growing as a team and keep trying to find the link up play that we found in week one and keep trying to put in a consistent performance," Whitecaps FC defender Jay DeMerit told reporters on Thursday. "Against the good teams in the West we've put in parts of a good performance but not a complete performance and I think when we do that we can beat anybody in this league."
San Jose got their lone win of the season against Western rivals last Saturday at home to Chivas. Vancouver will be looking for their first such win this weekend – the ‘Caps are coming off hard-fought draws with perennial Western Conference contenders Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy.
It may still be early days when it comes to looking at the postseason permutations, but in intra-conference games, every point counts.
"Any time you play Western opposition, it's important because over the years it's told you that it's always tight, from the top to the bottom," DeMerit said. "It's a league where games like this will definitely matter at the end of it all. For us, we've got make sure we know the importance of that and any time we play a Western Conference rival it's important for us to take those three points because everybody knows how competitive this league is."
DeMerit is hoping to return to the starting lineup after head coach Carl Robinson decided not to take him on the trip to Real Salt Lake last weekend. That was the second time that DeMerit has sat out so far this season, with Honduran international Johnny Leveron taking his place on both occasions.
"I'm always hungry to play," DeMerit told reporters. "As a player, at least for me, it's all about the competition. I love getting out there and testing the resolve of my opponents and going out there and trying to lead this team. Any time I get the opportunity to do that, I'm ready for it and I relish it. Again, I'm looking forward to hopefully being out there and leading the guys."
It’s not too late to participate in the best sporting experience in Vancouver. Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including prorated season tickets ($294), half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). Single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.