VANCOUVER, BC – On Friday night at BC Place, Vancouver Whitecaps FC will take on Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) in the first-ever meeting between the clubs.
Kickoff is set for 7:01 p.m. PT sharp and tickets are still available.
The 'Caps enter Friday's match as the second best team in the Western Conference with 10 points from their first six matches, including four matches away from home. LAFC, meanwhile, are sitting fifth in the West with a 2W-2L-0D record. We know a little mystery is exciting, but let’s take a look at what LAFC will be bringing to the table.
Man in charge
Let’s start with the man in charge: head coach Bob Bradley.
Bradley is no stranger when it comes to expansion teams, leading Chicago Fire to the MLS Cup in their inaugural season back in 1998. Bradley, who also has experience internationally managing the Egyptian and American national teams, would eventually go on to become the first American to manage a club in a top-flight European league and the English Premier League.
Players to watch
The attacking duo of Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi are LAFC’s biggest threats.
Rossi, who has been playing on the right wing, is leading the league with four assists in four games – not to mention his three goals. The 20-year-old Uruguayan began his professional career with Peñarol, just like Whitecaps FC midfielder Nicolas Mezquida.
The other half of LA’s offensive duo is 29-year-old Carlos Vela, a Mexican international who has previously spent time with Arsenal FC of the English Premier League and Real Sociedad of La Liga in Spain. LAFC’s marquee signing, who has been playing as a #10, is tied with Rossi for the team lead in goals with three this season.
You may notice a few familiar faces on LAFC’s back line this Friday.
Former Whitecaps FC defenders Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey both returned to their home state this offseason to join the Black & Gold. This will be Harvey’s first appearance at BC Place since leaving as the club's all-time leader in MLS regular season starts, appearances, and minutes played. Harvey will be honoured in a pre-match ceremony following warmup.
LAFC’s roster also features Canadian internationals Dejan Jaković and Mark Anthony-Kaye, while former ‘Caps midfielder John Thorrington is the club’s vice president of soccer operations and general manager.
Whitecaps FC and LAFC enter the match with the second and third most points per game in the Western Conference respectively.
LAFC started hot, winning their first two matches away at Seattle Sounders FC and Real Salt Lake, before falling 4-3 to LA Galaxy and most recently 5-0 to Atlanta United FC. On the one hand, LAFC are averaging the most goals per game in the Western Conference (2.25). On the other, they are conceding the most goals per game in all of MLS (2.5).
And that, if nothing else, should make for an entertaining affair on Friday night at BC Place.