Buckle up, because it’s going to be a busy week at BC Place.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5W-3L-2D) are set to play three home matches in the span of eight days, starting Saturday when Philadelphia Union (1W-6L-3D) come to town.
The inaugural Whitecaps FC Alumni Match, featuring the likes of Young-Pyo Lee, Jay DeMerit and Jay Nolly, will be held prior to the match. Lee will be signing autographs from 3:30 to 4 p.m. on the concourse at section 205. Click here for more information.
Match Day: Saturday, May 9
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT
Venue: BC Place
Radio: TSN 1410
The ‘Caps enter the weekend tied for the top spot in the Western Conference after grinding out a scoreless draw with Portland Timbers last weekend at Providence Park.
That was Vancouver’s league-leading fifth clean sheet of the season and 10th point away from home.
While Whitecaps FC have been one of the league’s best road teams, it’s been a different story at BC Place. Through five home matches, the ‘Caps have posted a 2W-2L-1D record – a record they’ll certainly be looking to improve with a number of home matches upcoming.
“It’s something we’ve spoken about,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said this week. “We go on the road and we concede one goal in five games. The mentality of the group is fantastic, hard to beat, very focused. We come home and we want to play an exciting, attacking brand of football at home, but do we want to sacrifice conceding goals, giving points away and losing? No, no we won’t. So I’ve got to find the balance.”
On the injury front, Robinson said on Thursday that right back Steven Beitashour (glute strain) is “questionable” for the weekend.
To say it’s been a challenging start to the season for Philadelphia would probably be an understatement. The injury-riddled Union have just one win and six points from their first 10 matches.
Still, the Union have some attacking weapons in the likes of Fernando Aristeguieta and Cristian Maidana and have proven they can score goals.
It’s on the defensive end where they’ve struggled mightily. Their 18 goals conceded are far and away the most in MLS.
Things won’t get any easier this week, as goalkeepers John McCarthy and Andre Blake have both been ruled out of Saturday’s match after sustaining injuries in the same training session. Despite re-joining the team after taking a performance-based leave of absence, Rais Mbolhi won’t be playing either.
Instead, the Union announced that they have acquired former Whitecaps FC Residency goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre on a short-term loan from Carolina RailHawks.
“We have evaluated all of our options and feel that Brian gives us the best opportunity to get a result in Vancouver,” technical director Chris Albright said in a release.
Vancouver and Philadelphia have been quite evenly matched over the years – the Union have a slight edge with a 2W-1L-2D head-to-head record.
Last season, the two teams played to a thrilling 3-3 draw at PPL Park.