Preview - LA - April 1

Painting the Picture presented by Benjamin Moore: Big crowd expected as 'Caps host Galaxy Saturday at BC Place

VANCOUVER, BC – After a two-week break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC return to BC Place on Saturday night to host five-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.

Saturday’s West Coast clash is one of two matches this season that will have an expanded capacity of 25,000 (limited tickets are still available).

KO: 7 p.m. PT | TICKETS: http://ow.ly/ECmD30aenCZ | TV: TSN1 | RADIO: TSN 1040

'Caps kickoff: The BC Place Patio is open! Come out and enjoy a cold one and food specials.

BC1 Roof Report: Roof is closed for today's match.

Here’s everything you need to know about the match.

STORYLINES

Fresh start: After defeating New York Red Bulls in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals to start the season, Whitecaps FC have now gone four matches without a win. It was a busy stretch that included a long and taxing trip to Monterrey, Mexico, but now the ‘Caps should be fully recharged as they look to claim their first win of the young 2017 MLS season.  

Back in the fold? Mexican international Giovani dos Santos (hamstring), who did not play in LA’s last outing, and U.S. international Gyasi Zardes (knee), who has yet to play a game this season, both trained in full this week and could feature on Saturday. Certainly, these two players would bolster the Galaxy attack in a big way. Midfielder Jermaine Jones (international duty) and longtime English Premier League defender Ashley Cole (calf) are also expected to be available. On the other hand, the Galaxy will be without midfielder Sebastian Lletget. It was announced this week that the former West Ham man will be out four to six months with a foot injury.  

Tchani time? The 'Caps announced on Thursday that the club has acquired midfielder Tony Tchani in a blockbuster trade with Columbus Crew SC. Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi said the Cameroonian international could play as early as Saturday, so make sure to keep an eye out for Vancouver's newest addition. 

Big month ahead: Saturday’s match kicks off a huge month for the ‘Caps, who will also face Mexican powerhouse Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals before a trip to Real Salt Lake and derby matches against Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers and Canadian rival Montreal Impact. That’s quite the lineup. A positive result on Saturday could be a big momentum-builder for Whitecaps FC as they enter this important stretch.

KEY MATCHUPS

Jordan Harvey (LB) vs. Romain Alessandrini (RW): In addition to dos Santos and Zardes, another player the ‘Caps will have to key in on is new Galaxy Designated Player Romain Alessandrini. The 27-year-old winger, who had two assists in LA’s last match, joined the Galaxy this past offseason after nearly 10 years in his native France – most recently with Ligue 1 side Marseille. It’s a big assignment for always-reliable ‘Caps left back Jordan Harvey, and certainly one he’ll be relishing.

Fredy Montero (FWD) vs. Jelle Van Damme (CB): This should be a good one. Vancouver’s Designated Player striker vs. LA’s Designated Player centre back and captain, who returns to the Galaxy lineup after serving a one-match suspension. Jelle Van Damme, a Belgian international who was a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year in 2016, will have the physical advantage over Fredy Montero. But can Montero find some space around him? That will be the big question.

QUOTABLE:

"It's a huge one. Whenever LA comes to town, it's a big game. It's a game we need to win. We need to show our fans that we can get three points at home." - David Ousted