VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC look to ride the momentum from over the weekend when they take on nemesis Sporting Kansas City at BC Place tonight.
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Here are three storylines for the match.
RIDE THE WAVE
Whitecaps FC snapped out of a scoring drought in a big way on Saturday, defeating FC Dallas 3-0 at BC Place.
An own goal from Dallas defender Maynor Figueroa started the scoring for the ’Caps, then Jordan Harvey and Kekuta Manneh padded the lead in the second half. Harvey scored his second goal of the season off a corner kick, while Manneh found the net in open play, on a breakaway off forward passes from Cristian Techera and Blas Pérez.
It was the highest scoring output for the ’Caps since their Decision Day win over Houston Dynamo last October.
The challenge then now would be to transfer the sudden surge of offensive energy into tonight, facing a Kansas City side that has allowed only three goals in four road matches. Tim Melia mans the net for Sporting KC, while Matt Besler and Nuno Coelho will be tasked to mark 'Caps strikers Pérez, Masato Kudo, and Octavio Rivero.
SNAPPING THE STREAK
The ’Caps enter the tilt looking to snap a three-match losing streak to Sporting Kansas City, their longest current losing streak against one team.
In their last meeting on March 12, striker Dom Dwyer scored a first-half brace to give Sporting KC a 2-1 win in their home-opener at newly-renamed Children’s Mercy Park. Whitecaps FC captain Pedro Morales answered with a 70th-minute penalty kick goal after Melia was whistled for a foul against Rivero inside the box. Vancouver played the second half with 10 men after Jordan Smith was sent off for a late first-half tackle on Graham Zusi.
Kansas City swept their season series last year, including a come-from-behind 4-3 win on August 15, with the ’Caps giving up a two-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining.
With Morales "raring to go" after sitting out the last three matches recovering from a hip flexor injury, the ’Caps are determined to notch their first win over Kansas City since August 10, 2014.
PARKER V DWYER
'Caps defender Tim Parker and Dwyer have travelled similar paths to become the fast-rising MLS stars they are today.
Each starred in the Big East Conference where in 2011, Dwyer was named the conference Offensive Player of the Year while playing for the University of South Florida, and Parker and St. John’s University won the conference tournament title.
After each was selected late in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, Parker and Dwyer took advantage of their club's development systems, developing in the USL before becoming regulars in MLS.
Parker is currently third in MLS in clearances with 43, and tied with teammate Kendall Waston for eighth in headed clearances with 21. Dwyer is tied for fourth in the league in goals with four.
The matchup could very well be the determining factor on who wins the crucial Western Conference fixture. Make sure you're there at BC Place to witness this clash.
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