Friday, March 25, 2011

Whitecaps FC v Union Match Preview

The Vancouver Whitecaps FC play against the Philadelphia Union this weekend in their first MLS away game. The ‘Caps will wear their white strip and Philly will dress in a dark blue with gold trim kit. Both teams are undefeated to start the season. Vancouver beat Toronto at home 4-1 while the Union beat Houston Dynamo 1-0 in Houston. This is the first time these two teams have met one another.

The Whitecaps will be without captain Jay DeMerit, who is on international duty with the USA and they will play Argentina in a friendly on Saturday in New York. DeMerit could remain with the US Squad until the middle of next week. Michael Boxall is in China as his New Zealand squad will face the Chinese on Friday. Boxall returns to Vancouver, arriving on Saturday night.

DeMerit and Boxall are both Centrebacks. Greg Janicki will slide into the line-up in the middle of defense. The options of who will pair with Janicki include moving Alain Rochat into the centre to pair or with Janicki, have Bilal Duckett start the game in the centre back position or have Kevin Harmse who has just signed with the Whitecaps and is currently on his way to Philadelphia (and arrives around 5pm PT) will slot into the middle with Janicki. Harmse played the full 90 minutes in Vancouver’s 2-1 loss to San Jose on Tuesday in the reserve league match.

Russell Teibert has been battling a right quad injury and should be in the line-up for the weekend, playing about 60-65 minutes as agreed upon by head coach Teitur Thordarson and Canada U-20 National team coach Valero Gazzola. Davide Chiumiento is out of the line-up and did not travel with the team. His spot on the right side will likely be taken up by Nizar Khalfan.

Jay Nolly picked up a bit of a knock in training on Friday and is questionable to start. Should he not be able to play, Joe Cannon will get his first start for the Vancouver Whitecaps. Cannon was on the bench for San Jose’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia last season but has never played against the 2nd year side.

In addition, with the absense of Jay DeMerit, Vancouver native Terry Dunfield will captain his side and put on the armband for the Whitecaps in Philadelphia. And honour Dunfield is very proud of.

Tyler Green’s predicted starting line-up:
GK – Joe Cannon
D (R-L) – Jonathan Leathers, Kevin Harmse, Greg Janicki, Alain Rochat
M (L-R) – Nizar Khalfan, Terry Dunfield, Gershon Koffie, Russell Teibert
F – Atiba Harris, Eric Hassli

Although Vancouver and Philadelphia have limited MLS experience, Atiba Harris has been particularly good against Philadelphia. Harris has scored 2 goals and added an assist in 2 games played against the Union. Sebastien Le Toux is a familiar name to Whitecaps FC fans. In 2007 and 2008, Le Toux scored three goals in games against Vancouver while playing for Seattle Sounders in United Soccer Leagues First Division action

For the Union, it is their 2011 home opener. They are a 2nd year expansion team and made a variety of changes from last year. They are tough defenders and Sebastien Le Toux, who scored 15 goals last season, is expected to pick up where he left off. Joining him up front is Carlos Ruiz. Who has the talent to score, and has in the past, but not in recent years. Danny Mwanga, last years #1 pick also has a nose for the net, scoring 7 goals last season.

The Union’s goalkeeper Faryn Mondragon is the biggest wildcard. At 39, he’s getting up there in age, but remember, some of the best ‘keepers in the MLS are over 40. Kasey Keller in Seattle is 41 and Pat Onstad in DC is 43. He wore the captain’s armband last weekend and has over 20 years of international experience playing for Colombia, starting in 1992. He was a teammate of Andres Escobar on the ill-fated 1994 Colombian team, he did not play in a match during that World Cup, but was there and experienced it.

Injury Report:
PHILADELPHIA UNION - QUESTIONABLE: DF Danny Califf (L knee meniscus);
PROBABLE: DF Juan Diego González (L hip flexor strain) …
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC - OUT: MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain);
DOUBTFUL: MF Shea Salinas (R knee sprain); MF John Thorrington (R quad
strain); MF Davide Chiumiento (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF
Russell Teibert (R hamstring strain)

Philadelphia Probable starters:
GK – Faryn Mondragon
D (R-L) – Sheanon Williams, Danny Califf, Carlos Valdes, Jordan Harvey
M (R-L – Stefani Miglioranzi, Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp
F (R-L) – Sebastien Le Toux, Danny Mwanga, Carlos Ruiz

Overall Record v Philadelphia Teams
Vancouver has never lots to a Philadelphia based soccer team going 4W-0L, going back to the NASL days.

Date       Opponent Result   Attend. Location Vancouver Scorers
74.06.23 Philadelphia Atoms 1-0 SOW   8,816 Vancouver
76.07.30 Philadelphia Atoms 3-1 W    2,285 Philadelphia Budd, S Lenarduzzi, Silvester
79.05.18 Philadelphia Fury     2-0 W 18,293 Vancouver Hector, Whymark
80.05.14 Philadelphia Fury     1-0 OTW 2,454 Philadelphia Kember

The match kick-off is at 1pm and the TEAM 1410 pregame show is set for 11am. You can hear the match on TEAM1410 on online at

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