Overall Record vs. Earthquakes:
Look for Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9W-7L-6D) to avenge their only home loss of the season as they host the San Jose Earthquakes (9W-7L-4D) this Saturday at BC Place in a highly anticipated match-up between two talented teams that could see a serious shake up in the Western Conference standings. It is the second of three matches between the teams and the only home match against the Earthquakes this season (the Whitecaps visit San Jose again September 14th). Coming off a 1-1 draw in their previous meeting, the Whitecaps will look to grab a much needed three points after losing two of the last three games, including a painful 1-0 home loss to the Philadelphia Union July 27th.
What’s The Point?
The Whitecaps currently sit tied with the LA Galaxy for 4th in the Western Conference. A win Saturday could see them move up to 2nd, two points behind Real Salt Lake who sit atop the West with 38 points. It would be a welcome boost in the standings after straddling the fine line dividing playoff contention for much of the season. Not to be outdone however, San Jose have their eyes on the playoffs too, hoping for a move into the tightening race with a win of their own, and with the Seattle Sounders playing on Saturday as well, looking to overtake both teams in the standings with a win against Toronto FC, expect Saturday to be just a sneak preview of the weeks ahead as the battle for the West increases in intensity.
Striker Kenny Miller looks and sounds ready to return to the lineup after suffering a right adductor strain against Philadelphia, having participated in full training after sitting out Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Portland. Andy O’Brien (who just signed a one year contract extension) is also looking good to go after sitting out with a hamstring injury since June. The same can’t be said for Brad Rusin, though. After being taken out with a major ankle sprain on Saturday, the 26 year old is out for the foreseeable future. Darren Mattocks still looks a few weeks away from returning, having partaken in only light training since undergoing knee surgery July 25th, and while Jay DeMerit continues to astonish with his rapid recovery from a season-opener Achilles injury, the Whitecaps captain continues to hold his cards tight to his chest regarding his timetable to return. No word on Omar Salgado (foot injury.)
Mind The Net
After an impressive showing against the Timbers, it is likely that head coach Martin Rennie will give David Ousted another shot in goal (no pun intended), which will mark the Danish netminder’s debut on home turf. Don’t expect Brad Knighton to just sit back on his haunches, though! After the club announced Ousted’s signing back in June, the step-up in Knighton’s performance was not overlooked, earning two clean sheets in five wins. While coach and players are confident in Ousted’s abilities, we haven’t seen the last of Brad Knighton in net for the Whitecaps, not yet. If it was his job to lose, it’s his to regain. Expect the 28 year old to be champing at the bait to get another call up this season.
Kickoff is at 4:30PM PST. You can watch the game on TSN or tune into the TEAM 1040 radio to catch all the highlights.