Vancouver Whitecaps FC (4W-1L-1D) will look to increase their lead atop the MLS standings on Saturday when they visit San Jose Earthquakes (2W-3L-0D) at Avaya Stadium.
This will be Vancouver’s first-ever match at the new soccer-specific facility, which opened last month.
Match Day: Saturday, April 11
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PT
Venue: Avaya Stadium, San Jose
Radio: TSN 1410
It’s been a busy week for the first-place ‘Caps.
After a convincing victory over the defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy last weekend, Whitecaps FC returned to action on Wednesday and played to an entertaining 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew SC.
Octavio Rivero continued his red-hot start, scoring his league-leading fifth goal in six matches, while Darren Mattocks opened his 2015 account and added an assist in his first start. The ‘Caps, who sit atop the MLS table, are now undefeated in five matches.
After Wednesday’s match, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said some players were “dead on their feet” when asked if there would be any changes in his lineup on Saturday.
“I think I’ll have to… I’ve got confidence in my squad so other players will get chances now,” he said. “The ones that are banged up, and there might be some centre backs that are banged up, will take a rest and others players will come in.”
Robinson added on Thursday that Mauro Rosales (ankle sprain) isn’t “far away” and that Russell Teibert “will be okay” after picking up a slight knock. Kendall Waston was also up and about on Thursday after taking a hard fall late in Wednesday’s match.
“He’s tough as nails,” Robinson said. “It’s a credit to him that he’s about letting me know that he’s fit, so we’ll see.”
Robinson also said that Diego Rodriguez, who left Wednesday’s match with a quad strain, will be assessed again on Friday.
The Quakes, who are coming off back-to-back losses to New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake, enter Saturday’s contest sixth in the Western Conference with a 2W-3L-0D record.
No Western Conference team has conceded more goals (7) than San Jose this season, but they’ve had some success in the offensive end, including a 3-2 win over Seattle Sounders FC on March 14.
The Quakes player to watch is U.S. men’s national team striker Chris Wondolowski, who has a team-high three goals in five matches this season. He also has nine goals in 11 career appearances against Vancouver, including three multi-goal games.
The Quakes will be forced to make at least one change to their starting lineup on Saturday with first-year striker Innocent Emeghara unavailable due to suspension.
Whitecaps FC have had San Jose’s number in MLS play, posting a 5W-1L-5D record. That includes an eight-match unbeaten run dating back to April 2012. However, the ‘Caps have never won in San Jose.
Centre back Christian Dean is also a resident of East Palo Alto, California, while forward Erik Hurtado played his collegiate soccer at Santa Clara University, which is just five minutes away from San Jose’s new stadium.