VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC host San Jose Earthquakes in a do-or-die home playoff match Wednesday night at BC Place. TICKETS: http://ow.ly/4x5m30g6pgr.
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. PT | TV: TSN 1/3/4/5 | RADIO: TSN 1040
IMPORTANT: If the score is tied at the end of 90 minutes, the match will be decided be extra time (two 15-minute periods) and – if needed – a penalty shootout.
Here are the key storylines to watch.
WIN OR GO HOME
This is what the ‘Caps have been working towards all year. And it’s been a long one.
It started way back in January, when the team went off to Wales to begin preparations for the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. Now, here we are, nine months later. Win, and the ‘Caps advance to the two-leg Western Conference Semifinals vs. Seattle Sounders FC, starting with the home leg this Sunday at BC Place.
Lose, and they’re done.
“Right now, it’s put up or shut up,” said Whitecaps FC defender Tim Parker. “We have to show up on Wednesday and show what we’re about, or we go home.”
"It's what we play for," added Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "Hopefully BC Place will be rocking."
HISTORY IN THE MAKING?
This is the fourth time Whitecaps FC have qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs, and third time in four years under head coach Carl Robinson. It’s also their second playoff match at BC Place, but they’re still searching for that coveted first playoff victory.
Will it come on Wednesday?
BIG GAME, BIG PLAYERS
These are the sorts of games where you need your big players to step up.
San Jose will be relying on the likes of Chris Wondolowski, who has been a ‘Caps killer over the years, and Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili, who scored the late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Vancouver on October 15 and nearly had the game-winner shortly later.
The ‘Caps, meanwhile, will be hoping for big performances from the likes of centre back and captain Kendall Waston, who made it clear how much Wednesday’s match means to him in an open letter addressed to fans, attacking midfielder Yordy Reyna, who Robinson recently said might be the best player the club’s ever had, and leading goalscorer Fredy Montero, assuming he’s fit after picking up a knock last week in training.
“If you don’t want to play in games like this, then don’t play the game,” Robinson said. “You want to play in big games … when you get a chance to play professional football you have to embrace it and take your chance. We get a chance on Wednesday.”