Preview: Whitecaps FC host San Jose Friday night with playoff implications on the line

VANCOUVER, BC – The boys are back.

For the first time in nearly a month, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-10L-6D) return to BC Place on Friday to host San Jose Earthquakes (6W-6L-10D) in an important Western Conference affair.

TICKETS: http://ow.ly/AHxS3037r4c  | KICKOFF: 8 p.m. PT  |  TV: TSN1  | RADIO: TSN 1040

This is Vancouver’s first-ever Friday home match – limited tickets are still available.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

The ‘Caps enter Friday’s contest two points out of a playoff spot.

They’re also only two points up on San Jose, who have a couple games in hand, so there are certainly no shortage of playoff implications for this one.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Whitecaps FC, who fell 2-0 to FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids in their last two MLS regular season fixtures. Then again, those are the top two teams in MLS. And neither has lost a game at home, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

At any rate, with just 10 games to go, the ‘Caps know they need to get going.

“Now is the time for players to step up,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said this week.

One player who is eager to hit the pitch on Friday is new Whitecaps FC forward/midfielder Giles Barnes, who made his debut for the club last weekend.

“I went to Russell’s place the other day and drove past BC Place,” Barnes told reporters. “Obviously I’ve played there a few times too. Really looking forward to getting front of the home fans and showing them what I’m capable of.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES

If there’s one thing you need to know about San Jose – aside from the scoring prowess of U.S. national team striker Chris Wondolowski, that is – it’s that they’re tough to beat.

Only three teams have lost fewer matches so far this season.

The reason they’re sitting below the red line in the Western Conference is because they haven’t won a whole lot either. Rather, their 10 draws are the second highest total in MLS. That includes draws in each of their last three outings (1-1 vs. RSL, 1-1 vs. Houston, and 0-0 vs. NYCFC).

“They’re a very physical team and they’ve got someone who can score goals up top, so we know it’s not going to be easy,” Robinson said. “But all we do every week is focus on ourselves. If we focus on ourselves and what we do, and players perform at their levels and cut out the individual errors that have been costing us, then we’ve got a good chance of winning the game.”

The Quakes bolstered their attack this week with the addition of former La Liga striker Henok Goitom, but reports suggest he’s unlikely to feature on Friday.  

KEY MATCHUPS

Kendall Waston (CB) vs. Chris Wondolowski (FWD): Wondolowski leads San Jose with nine goals. He’s also a ‘Caps-killer. His 10 all-time goals vs. Vancouver is the most by a player against one opponent since 2011. If Waston and company can shut him down, it will go a long way.

Giles Barnes (FWD/M) vs. Quakes back line: Barnes can play anywhere across Vancouver’s front four. He played as a lone striker last weekend against Colorado. It will be interesting to see where he slots in on Friday, but either way, he’ll be a handful for the Quakes’ back line.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Whitecaps FC record vs. San Jose: 6W-2L-6D
Whitecaps FC record vs. San Jose at home: 6W-0L-1D

The ‘Caps have had all sorts of success against San Jose – particularly at home, where they are 6W-0L-1D in seven previous encounters. They’re hoping that trend continues on Friday.

Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.