Since joining Major League Soccer in 2011, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (3W-1L-0D) have never won four matches in a row.
But as they say, there’s a first for everything.
And the ‘Caps are hoping it will come on Saturday night when they host the defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy (1W-1L-2D) at BC Place.
Match Day: Saturday, April 4
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Venue: BC Place
TV: TSN 1
Radio: TSN 1410
After dropping their season opener, Whitecaps FC have now won three matches in a row – most recently, a thrilling 2-1 triumph over Portland Timbers at BC Place. They enter Saturday’s contest second in MLS with nine points from their first four matches, which is a new club record in MLS.
First-year striker Octavio Rivero, who was named MLS Player of the Month on Thursday, is leading the way with three goals. Nicolas Mezquida and Robert Earnshaw also got on the scoresheet last weekend against Portland. It was a dream debut for Earnshaw, who was subbed on just moments before scoring a 90th-minute winner.
After fielding a somewhat depleted lineup against Portland, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson should have plenty of options against the defending champs.
Midfielder Russell Teibert and striker Darren Mattocks, who scored two goals in two games with Jamaica, are both back from international duty. And Kekuta Manneh is available once again after serving his one-game suspension.
The defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy opened their 2015 campaign with a 2-0 win over Chicago Fire, but haven’t won a game since.
Bruce Arena’s side played to back-to-back draws with Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo before suffering a 1-0 road loss to DC United last weekend. It should be noted, however, that they were without first-choice strikers Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, who were away on international duty.
Both players are expected to be available this weekend. Another player to watch is 21-year-old winger Jose Villareal, who has a goal and two assists through four matches.
Although the Galaxy are winless in their last three matches, Robinson isn’t fooled.
“They’re going to be exactly the same as last year,” he said this week. “They’re top team with a top manager and top players. It’s a good test for us. Even last year, midway through the season they were in the bottom two. And if you listen to Bruce, it’s about getting in the playoffs. Because if you get into the playoffs, you have a chance of winning the MLS Cup and that’s exactly what they did.”
The Galaxy will likely be without centre back Leonardo this weekend, as Arena said he’s nursing a leg strain.
With a 1W-8L-2D record in league play, Whitecaps FC haven’t had much success against the Galaxy over the last four years. In their defence, not many teams have.
Last season, the ‘Caps played to a 2-2 draw with LA at BC Place and dropped both of their meetings at the StubHub Center. This will be the first of only two meetings between the two teams this season – as well as LA’s lone visit to BC Place.
They’re foes on Saturday, but Carl Robinson and Robbie Keane have a friendship that dates back nearly 20 years. In fact, Keane was Robinson’s best man at his wedding. Read more about their relationship.