REUNION, FL - It's almost time.
Whitecaps FC finally take to the pitch again on Wednesday when they kick off their MLS is Back Tournament slate with a date against San Jose Earthquakes.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
MLS is Back Tournament - Group B
Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 6 p.m. PT
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Reunion, FL
TV: TSN1/4 - RADIO: TSN Radio 1040
Here are some storylines to watch out for.
UP TO THE TASK: The 'Caps enter play missing the services of five players but Marc Dos Santos is excited to see his players seize the opportunity to showcase their quality. The starting midfield from the beginning of the 2020 season remains intact with Inbeom Hwang and Russell Teibert working in partnership in the middle, while newcomers Cristian Dajome and David Milinkovic attack along the wings. Yordy Reyna, who started the opener as a forward before being sidelined with an illness in Week 2, may be looked upon for offence against the Quakes' backline, headlined by Mexican centre back Oswaldo Alanis.
STILL BRAND NEW: A number of the 'Caps offseason acquisitions have yet to see regular minutes outside of the aforementioned Dajome and Milinkovic. In their Week 2 win, Janio Bikel played 90 shutout minutes at right back and rookie Ryan Raposo assisted on the game-winner as a second-half substitute, despite both being late additions to the travelling roster due to injuries to Jake Nerwinski and Reyna that week. Leonard Owusu made his MLS debut late, while defenders Cristian Gutierrez and Ranko Veselinovic are looking for their first appearance.
SEISMIC ACTIVITY: The 'Caps face a familiar foe in Chris Wondolowski, whose 13 goals against VWFC is tied for most ever in MLS history by one player against a specific opponent. He was a substitute in the first two regular season matches, but is coming off his third-best goals-per-90-minute average of his career in 2019. With the Quakes playing their second of three games in a 10-day span, the 'Caps should be ready for forwards Andy Rios, Danny Hoesen and 16-year-old Cade Cowell as well. Argentine midfielder Cristian Espinoza is the Quakes top playmaker.
BY THE NUMBERS
200: Russell Teibert's next appearance will be his 200th in his professional career across all competitions. The Homegrown midfielder is the longest tenured player on the 'Caps roster, originally joining the club's Academy system in 2008 and signing an MLS contract in 2011.
16 & 1: In the last meeting between the 'Caps and the Quakes on August 24, 2019 at Avaya Stadium, Maxime Crepeau set an MLS single-match record with 16 saves, and Jake Nerwinski scored his first MLS goal.
12: The 'Caps recorded 12 blocks against the Quakes on July 20, 2019 at BC Place, a club MLS record for most in a single match.
7: Whitecaps FC have secured seven results away from home versus San Jose, their most against one MLS opponent.