After two-week break, 'Caps ready for return to action

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VANCOUVER, B.C. – After a two-week break, the Vancouver Whitecaps are ready to get back to business against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday (7 pm ET; watch LIVE online).

With a third of the season gone, the club is hoping to use this match as a springboard to begin a concerted push for a first-ever MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.

“Houston will have energy – they’ve had a rest, too,” head coach Martin Rennie told reporters at BC Place after a training session on Friday. “But based on what I’ve seen in training I expect it to be high energy, enthusiasm – I’m really looking forward to it. I think the fans will be excited for it, too – it’s been a while since we played at BC Place and the atmosphere last time at Seattle was incredible and I expect the same again.”

The two-week break contrasted an intensely busy part of the schedule for the team, when the ‘Caps were involved in nine matches over 28 days. While the players were clearly glad for a rest following the 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers on May 26 at the end of that stretch, now they’re champing at the bit to get back in action.

“You can see with our intensity in training, Sunday can’t come quick enough,” captain Jay DeMerit said. “They’re a good experienced team, score a lot of goals. They play a lot down the wings and have big forwards up front. I expect a physical battle and make sure we compete with them and put them on the back foot.”

Claiming a victory against the MLS Cup 2011 finalists is important for setting the tone to start a three-game home stand, especially considering Vancouver follow up those matches with a long stretch of five consecutive road matches.

“We’ve put ourselves in a decent spot in terms of the Western Conference standings,” John Thorrington said. “For me, the most exciting thing is we did that and we still have a lot to give for the remainder of the season. We’ve shown in flashes what we can be about and we need to do that on a more consistent basis.

“But it’s exciting for me to think that we’re already in a good spot and we have more to give.”

Salgado out for a stretch

Omar Salgado fractured his right foot while on international duty with the US Under-20 national team. The first overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft indicated on Facebook that he expects to miss approximately three weeks due to the injury.

Salgado was establishing himself as one of the club’s top left-sided attacking options this season, particularly impressing during the Amway Canadian Championship semifinals against FC Edmonton.

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.