Preview: United head to Vancouver in search of 3 points

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VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs D.C. UNITED
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.

October 12, 2011
11 p.m. ET (RogersSN; CSN-MA)

Vancouver Whitecaps FC will look to keep their winning tradition alive in their new home against a D.C. United side needing wins to stay in the MLS Cup Playoffs hunt when the clubs meet Wednesday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC got their MLS victory at their new ground last week, a dominant 3-0 win against Real Salt Lake. United come into the game five points out of the final wild card spot, but with a couple of games in hand, after a second consecutive loss in their last outing, a 2-1 loss at the Columbus Crew.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Paul Scott; 4th: Yader Reyes MLS Career: 55 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 11; pens: 9

INJURY REPORT

  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC - OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); DF Jonathan Leathers (R hamstring strain); GK Brian Sylvestre (L knee surgery); MF Russell Teibert (R toe laceration); PROBABLE: MF John Thorrington (L groin strain)  
  • D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L ACL tear); MF Chris Pontius (R tibia fracture); DF Jed Zayner (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Ethan White (L MCL sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: VAN: Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Michael Boxall, Eric Hassli, Gershon Koffie, Jonathan Leathers à DC: Marc Burch, Austin da Luz, Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario, Ethan White

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME: United 1 win, 4 goals ... Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals...Ties 0
  • In the first meeting this season, Chris Pontius scored twice and Dwayne De Rosario set up two goals as United rolled to a 4-0 win, Aug. 13 at RFK Stadium.
  • Coaches' records: Ben Olsen v VAN: P1 W1 L0 T0...Tom Soehn vs. DC: P1 W0 L1 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 8/13: DC 4, VAN 0 (Pontius 45, 70; Najar 48; King 81)
  • United took the lead just before halftime. Dwayne De Rosario was at the heart of the move, dancing past Whitecaps FC defender Jay DeMerit in the right corner of the box before finding a sliding Chris Pontius to knock it home at the back post.
  • Two minutes after the second-half restart, D.C. doubled its lead. Santino Quaranta sent a long, diagonal ball towards a streaking Andy Najar in the right corner, and he fired a low shot from almost on the end line that caught Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly by surprise.
  • United made it 3-0 in the 70th minute. Stephen King fired a shot from the top of the area that was deflected to the left, but right to Pontius, who hammered the rebound into the roof of the goal for his second on the night.
  • De Rosario again played provider nine minutes from the end, getting forward on the right flank before rolling a square pass to King who drilled a left-footed shot past Nolly for the United fourth.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Joe Willis - Perry Kitchen, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard - Clyde Simms - Andy Najar (Austin da Luz 74), Santino Quaranta (Stephen King 63), Chris Pontius (Marc Burch 77) - Dwayne De Rosario, Charlie Davies.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly - Jonathan Leathers, Jay DeMerit (Davide Chiumiento 62), Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey - John Thorrington (Jeb Brovsky 70), Peter Vagenas (Mustapha Jarju 70), Gershon Koffie, Shea Salinas - Camilo, Eric Hassli.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC claimed their first victory in their new BC Place home, strolling to a 3-0 win against Real Salt Lake on Thursday evening. Whitecaps FC have 25 points from 31 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Whitecaps FC were two goals to the good from penalty kicks on either side of halftime. First, in the 43rd minute, RSL midfielder Collen Warner was adjudged to have used his hand to stop Jay DeMerit's header on the line. Warner was sent off and Camilo stepped up to the spot, sending goalkeeper Nick Rimando the wrong way for the opener.
  • Then eight minutes into the second half, RSL defender Chris Schuler was ruled to have handled the ball in the box after it ricocheted off a teammate, and Camilo again did the honours to double the Vancouver lead.
  • The home side capped the victory two minutes from end when Nizar Khalfan left fly from outside the area. Rimando managed to get a hand on the shot, but Khalfan’s strike had too much sting and he could only direct the ball into the corner of his goal.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers at BC Place. Carlyle Mitchell, Nizar Khalfan, John Thorrington and Long Tan all came into the team, in place of Shea Salinas, Peter Vagenas, Eric Hassli and Davide Chiumiento.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jeb Brovsky, Carlyle Mitchell, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat - Nizar Khalfan, Gershon Koffie, John Thorrington (Peter Vagenas 69), Jordan Harvey - Long Tan (Shea Salinas 84) - Camilo (Omar Salgado 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • The win snapped a three-game losing streak and was the first for Whitecaps FC in their new BC Place home, after a 1-0 loss to Portland in the first MLS game there.
  • “Tonight we had a chance not only to get the lead, but to also keep it. It was a complete performance, one of the few this season, so you take these games and you make sure that you find out why that happened so you can experience that again,” said center back Jay DeMerit.
  • After being signed by the club just before the roster freeze deadline, Trinidadian center back Carlyle Mitchell made his MLS debut, coming into central defense alongside Jay DeMerit.
  • “He gave us some bite and real athleticism. He did a good job of communicating and holding a high line,” said Whitecaps FC interim head coach Tom Soehn. “We did a good job of staying organized, but all in all, I still go back to the group effort. It was a really good group performance.”
  • It was the fifth clean sheet of the season for Vancouver and the first in five games, since a 1-0 win against Houston on Aug. 27.
  • “It was really easy the way [DeMerit and Mitchell] were playing,” said goalkeeper Joe Cannon. “I think Jay and Mitchell are very similar in the sense that they’re good in the air, good in the tackle."
  • Long Tan made his second start in MLS play and his first since May 14, playing an underneath striker role. “I thought Long Tan had a really good day up top,” Soehn said. “He worked hard and created a lot.”
  • Camilo took over the Whitecaps FC team lead with 11 goals, scoring twice û both from the penalty spot. Eric Hassli, the club’s leading scorer entering the match and the regular penalty taker, was suspended through caution accumulation.
  • “Today is good,” Camilo said. “I scored and we won the game. For me, it’s good [to lead the team in scoring], but [Hassli] is the big player on this team. He supports us younger players and shows us everything it’s good for me.”
  • Nizar Khalfan made his first start since July 9 and scored his first MLS goal. “I felt good [when Soehn said I would play],” Khalfan said. “I was waiting for a chance like this. I spent a long time and I didn”t get a chance in a game. So when coach said yesterday I was going to start today, I said I would do my best.”
  • Jordan Harvey also moved forward from his usual fullback spot to play on the left side of midfield. “He’s had some experience with that. What we wanted to do with that was make sure our shape was good,” said Soehn. Said left back Alain Rochat: “Jordan was great to play with, he knows how to defend, so we had some switches in the game and it worked well.”

D.C. UNITED

D.C. United lost a second consecutive match for the first time in months, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Crew on Oct. 2 at Crew Stadium. United have 38 points from 30 games on the year, sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • United took the lead in the 37th minute. Dwayne De Rosario served a free kick from near the right touchline and Daniel Woolard was able to sneak through the Crew back line before volleying home with a classy redirect with his left foot.
  • But three minutes into the second half, the Crew were even. A Shaun Francis shot hit a goalmouth scrum and fell to Crew forward Andres Mendoza. He spun and fired on goal, and while Woolard tried to clear, the carom squibbed past goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
  • The home side then hit for the eventual winner on the hour mark. Sebastian Miranda broke down the right touchline and put in a low cross from the edge of the area, and Eddie Gaven flung himself headlong at the ball, sending a diving header into the back of the net.
  • United coach Ben Olsen made five changes to the team that fell 3-2 to Philadelphia Union at PPL Park. Chris Korband Daniel Woolard came into the back four for Brandon McDonald and Ethan White, and Santino Quaranta, Charlie Davies and Joseph Ngwenya came into the team for Austin da Luz, Stephen King and Josh Wolff.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Perry Kitchen, Marc Burch - Clyde Simms (Josh Wolff 75) - Andy Najar, Dwayne De Rosario, Santino Quaranta (Austin da Luz 62) - Charlie Davies, Joseph Ngwenya (Stephen King 56).

TEAM NEWS

  • United have suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since the second and third games of the year, when they lost at Colorado and New England.
  • “The feeling’s not too much different than (after the Philadelphia game),” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “It’s not fun to lose these games. I thought overall it was a good effort, but we took those two plays off and you can’t do that down the stretch.”
  • The game in Vancouver is the final road game of the regular season for United. They return home for contests against Chicago, Portland and Columbus- all teams they are battling with directly for berths in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
  • “It’s not what we wanted with six games left, to lose both those games,” said Josh Wolff. “[This is] a little bit of a chance to regroup certainly and get some guys healthy. We labored into that game in Columbus and showed that we’ve got to have guys ready and willing to perform, whether you’re a starter or a non-starter.”
  • Olsen was forced into changes to both center backs against Columbus, with Brandon McDonald suspended and Ethan White suffering an MCL sprain in his knee. That meant that another youngster, Chris Korb, slotted in at right back and Daniel Woolard made a start in central defense.
  • “When you’re in this, and you’re in a race, it becomes much more dramatic,” Olsen said. “And I still think overall looking back at the season, I’m very happy with how they’ve done, and I think they’ve got some valuable experience.”
  • But United do not expect to have Dwayne De Rosario available for the Vancouver match. De Rosario has been called in for Canada’s World Cup qualifier the night before vs. Puerto Rico in Toronto. De Rosario has 11 goals and seven assists in his 15 games with D.C.
  • “If that plays out, that’s pretty much a long shot,” Olsen said of De Rosario’s chances to play. “Especially if he sees minutes in [the Tuesday] game, that’s just setting him up for injury. It’s a long way away and we’ve had some talks with him and the federation and we’ll do what’s best for Dwayne.”