TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CCL: 1W-1L-1D) visit C.D. Olimpia (1W-2L-0D) at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino tonight to close out group play of their first-ever CONCACAF Champions League campaign.
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. PT BROADCAST: whitecapsfc.com
Here are three storylines to get you set for the match.
With Whitecaps FC unable to move on in the competition and a number of players out with injury, head coach Carl Robinson is expected to field a youthful lineup on Thursday night.
Sam Adekugbe, Christian Dean and Diego Rodriguez have each appeared in all three CCL matches so far and may be looked upon again to control the space when Javier Estupiñán and Michaell Chirinos attempt to attack.
In the midfield, Kianz Froese and Marco Bustos, fresh off their senior international debuts for Canada last week, will try to continue their momentum from their recent fine play. Froese slotted in the match-winner in the 1-0 win versus C.D. Olimpia on September 16, while Bustos impressed in his MLS debut at FC Dallas last week.
Tonight is their chance to show that they can produce when called upon.
The 'Caps have had some impressive wins on the road this season, including results at LA Galaxy and New England Revolution to end their respective home undefeated streaks.
But if Whitecaps FC can come out of Tegucigalpa with a positive result, it would be just as – if not more – impressive.
"The crowd will be crazy," Robinson said. "The experience these young boys will get will stand them in a lot better stead for next year."
HOMECOMING FOR FLORES
One player who is not new to these surroundings is Deybi Flores, who played in Tegucigalpa before joining the 'Caps earlier this season.
The Honduran midfielder spent two seasons for C.D. Motagua - one of C.D. Olimpia's fiercest rivals in Liga Nacional. He also played with Olimpia players Chirinos and Alberth Elis last May and June for the Honduran team at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Look for Flores to have an extra bounce in his step as he writes another chapter in his journey from Honduras to Canada and back.
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