A pair of teams looking regain their First Kick success meet when Vancouver Whitecaps FC return home to Empire Field to play host to Sporting Kansas City. After a win against Toronto FC in the opener, Whitecaps FC fell 1-0 at Philadelphia last weekend. Sporting are also looking to regain First Kick form, a 3-2 win at Chivas USA followed by a 3- 2 loss last week at Chicago.
REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Cameron Blair; JAR (opposite): Daniel Belleau; 4th: Drew Fischer MLS Career: 27 games; FC/gm: 29.2; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 5; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Davide Chiumiento (R hamstring strain); GK Jay Nolly (L shoulder sprain); MF Shea Salinas (R knee sprain); MF John Thorrington (R quad strain) ... SPORTING KANSAS CITY – OUT: MF Ryan Smith (L knee inflamation); FW Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: DF Julio Cesar (R lower leg laceration); PROBABLE: MF Luke Sassano (R ankle sprain); DF Michael Harrington (L groin strain); GK Jon Kempin (R quadricep strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: VAN: Russell Teibert (Canada U-20); Omar Salgado (USA U-20)
SUSPENDED: VAN: Eric Hassli (through April 3) ...KC: Omar Bravo (through April 3)
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 6/25: Sporting Kansas City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. CT (TSN)
- Coaches record: Teitur Thordarson v KC: First game ... Peter Vermes vs. VAN: First game
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC weren’t able to build on their season-opening victory, falling 1-0 to Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Whitecaps FC have 3 points from 2 games on the season.
- [inline_node:332114]Whitecaps FC went a man down when Eric Hassli became the first player in club history to be sent off. The French striker picked up two yellow cards – one in the 25th minute, the second in the 58th minute.
- The Union finally took advantage in the 77th minute. Sebastien Le Toux found himself alone in the box with the ball after a deflection bounced right to him. He slotted it over to a wide-open Carlos Ruiz, who had little trouble finding the back of the net for his first goal with Philadelphia.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson made three changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 4-2 at Empire Field. Greg Janicki and Blake Wagner came into the back four for Jay DeMerit and Michael Boxall, both on international duty, and Nizar Khalfan came in for the injured Davide Chiumiento.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Greg Janicki, Alain Rochat, Blake Wagner - Nizar Khalfan (Long Tan 88), Terry Dunfield, Gershon Koffie, Russell Teibert (Wes Knight 64) - Eric Hassli (sent off 57), Atiba Harris (Camilo 83).
- After scoring two goals in his MLS debut in Whitecaps FC’s 4-2 season-opening win, Vancouver Designated Player Eric Hassli was sent off in the 57th minute of the loss at Philadelphia after receiving a second caution.
- "What happened today was totally unnecessary," said Whitecaps' coach Teitur Thordarson. "This is our own stupidity. We should have been professional enough to stay controlled. I told Eric straight away I wasn't happy."
- Missing both starting center backs from the season opener, Thordarson gave a start to Greg Janicki while also moving Alain Rochet into central defense. Blake Wagner made his 2011 debut at left back.
- “As a team, we played pretty well defensively,” said Janicki. “It was kind of a defensive battle the whole game. Neither side was really creating many chances.” Said Rochet to The Province: "We lost the balance from the first game."
- Joe Cannon made his first MLS start in more than seven months, after breaking an ankle last summer while playing for the San Jose Earthquakes. Jay Nolly, who backstopped Whitecaps FC in the opening win over Toronto last week, injured his shoulder in training and could not play.
- [inline_node:332512]“Now that I’ve been out there, everything is a go. You can’t look back. You work and look forward,” Cannon said.
- In addition to needing to replace Hassli, Thordarson could also be forced into a change for strike partner Atiba Harris.
- “Atiba has been recovering from the weekend. Hopefully he will be in training on Thursday,” said Thordarson. “But who will partner him? I need these days coming up to find out. ... It will most probably be Long Tan or Camilo.”
- Thordarson will also need to find a replacement for Russell Teibert, who will be away on international duty with the Canadian U-20 national team.
- Omar Salgado, the No. 1 overall selection by Vancouver in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, is now available for selection after his international transfer certificate was received. Salgado, however, will likely miss the next three Whitecaps FC matches while with the U.S. U-20 national team.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Sporting Kansas City went down to defeat for the first time in 2011, falling a 3-2 to the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon at Toyota Park. Sporting have 3 points from 2 games on the season.
- Chicago went up a goal and up a man in the 34th minute, when Kansas City Designated Player Omar Bravo was sent off after pulling down Gaston Puerari as he raced into the area on a solo run. Fire forward Diego Cháves promptly buried the resulting penalty kick.
- The Fire doubled their advantage in the 40th. Chicago midfielder Mike Videira played Puerari into the left side of the box, and the Uruguayan forward took one touch towards the middle before curling a 15-yard shot past KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
- Kansas City defender Matt Besler put Sporting on the board just after the break. Fire 'keeper Sean Johnson fumbled a low cross from midfielder Davy Arnaud and Besler jumped on the ball at the back post, tapping in from a few yards out.
- But Pappa restored the 2-goal margin with an absolutely fantastic goal in the 59th minute. The Guatemalan midfielder collected the ball in the middle of Kansas City’s half and improbably wove through four Sporting defenders before firing a low right-footed toe-poke inside the left post from the top of the box.
- Kansas City pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute. Halftime substitute Teal Bunbury collected an errant pass from Fire left back Gonzalo Segares in the middle of Chicago’s half and coolly slotted a shot inside the left post.
- SKC boss Peter Vermes made three changes to the team that recorded a 3-2 victory against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Scott Lorenz and Chance Myers came into the back four and Stephane Auvray into the midfield, in place of Luke Sassano, Julio Cesar and Kei Kamara.
- SPORTING KANSAS CITY (4-1-2-3): Jimmy Nielsen - Scott Lorenz (Birahim Diop 84), Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Chance Myers - Stephane Auvray (Graham Zusi 69) - Davy Arnaud, Craig Rocastle (Teal Bunbury 46)- Milos Stojcev, C.J. Sapong, Omar Bravo (sent off 30)
- The match turned late in the first half with the two Fire goals that quickly followed Omar Bravo’s red card. Bravo will not be available for the Vancouver match.
- [inline_node:332294]“The positive is they were playing in their home opener and we played two-thirds of a game a man down, and we still came back to score two goals on them,” Vermes said to the Kansas City Star. “If that doesn’t tell you something about the fight this team has, nothing will.”
- The Fire had 12 attempts at goal to Sporting’s 7, and put 7 on target to 5 for KC.
- “Not once was there anything in our favor throughout the course of the 90-minute match,” Vermes said. “Everything was against us. It’s hard when you are playing 10 against 11, and you’re just fighting all day long against everything. It got to the point where it was just absolutely ridiculous.”
- With 5 goals scored through 2 games, Sporting KC is tied atop the offensive table along with Real Salt Lake. But SKC has also allowed a league-high 5 goals, along with LA Galaxy and Portland.
- "We had to take advantage of those chances and when the first goal came, maybe they got a little nervous," Sporting captain Davy Arnaud said to the Chicago Tribune. "We didn't get our heads down and feel sorry for ourselves. The game wasn't over. In the end they were hanging on a little bit."
- With center back Júlio César ruled out late in the week after suffering a laceration to his foot that required 18 stitches, Roger Espinoza moved into central defense and Scott Lorenz made his MLS debut at right back. “I think they did a serviceable job,” Vermes said. “Giving up goals the way we did, it was just a lack of cohesiveness at times for them.”
- Teal Bunbury made his season debut after missing First Kick with a dislocated elbow, and scored his first goal of the season. Bunbury scored 5 goals in his rookie season of 2010.