Overall Record vs. San Jose:
Saturday’s game marks the third and final meeting of the season between Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-10L-7D) and the San Jose Earthquakes (10W-11L-7D). Look for the Whitecaps to be pulling out all the stops, desperate to chalk up another “W” that has eluded the team since August 10th (the last time these two teams met, coincidentally). It is wise not to underestimate the resolve of the Earthquakes however, as California’s second MLS team is just as eager to climb the ranks and make the playoffs.
The Whitecaps have yet to win a game when visiting San Jose, posting a 0W-1L-2T record at Buck Shaw Stadium. It could be argued that a draw is better than a loss, a point is still a point, and in such a tight conference race, the team needs all they can get. However, many do not see a draw as much better than a loss for the same reason. More points equal higher rankings equal better chance of making the playoffs. And in fairness, why eat hamburger when you can have steak?
Whitecaps supporter group Curva Collective put it best in one of their tifo’s earlier this year, “They will take a defeat; but we must give it to them”. Expect that same mentality to be echoed when the teams take to the pitch Saturday evening.
Injury & Line-up Reports:
Good news coming out of Whitecaps training this week as defender Brad Rusin returned to full training out at the team’s practice facility at UBC earlier this week. Rusin has appeared optimistic about his recovery and anxious to get back into action and help his team out since suffering a severe right ankle sprain August 3rd against Portland, although it is uncertain whether he will be available for selection for Saturday’s game.
Jay DeMerit continues to inch closer towards seeing playing time again, despite coach Martin Rennie being quoted as saying the captain is “not ready yet”. That being said, nothing is being ruled out given DeMerit’s astonishing recovery from what had the potential to be a career-ending injury. It is not yet known if DeMerit will be dressed as part of the team’s 18-man squad for Saturday’s game.
Forwards Darren Mattocks and Russell Teibert are expected to rejoin the team on Thursday and be available for lineup selection after spending time away with their respective national teams earlier in the week.
Note: Forward Omar Salgado (foot) has also begun to train again but it is expected he will not see any further action this season.
The Whitecaps are in seventh place in the West with thirty-seven points, same as San Jose. The victorious team will move into a tie for sixth with FC Dallas (contingent on Dallas losing to Colorado in their matchup earlier Saturday). A loss, which is admittedly unpleasant to talk about, given the ‘Caps recent performance record, may not be an immediate signal to the end of the playoff dream, though it will necessitate the team jumping into overdrive and remaining there for the rest of the season, as for either team as the gap between eighth (where the loser may find themselves depending on other Western Conference weekend action) and the bare minimum qualifying fifth place stands to grow wider still.
Kickoff is scheduled at 7:30PM PDT. Tune into Sportsnet Pacific or Sportsnet West to catch all the action.