VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC vs NEW YORK RED BULLS
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
March 8, 2014 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #3)
4:30 p.m. PT (TSN; MSG2)
An intriguing intersectional clash kicks off the new season when Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet the New York Red Bulls at BC Place on Saturday afternoon. Whitecaps FC begin the new season under new coach Carl Robinson after having failed to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs a season ago. The Red Bulls won the first major honor in club history last year in claiming the Supporters’ Shield, representative of the best overall record in league play.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Brandon Major; JAR (opposite): Eric Weisbrod; 4th: TBD
MLS Career: 117 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 20; pens: 26
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (MLS) (4 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 5 goals … Red Bulls 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 3
AT VANCOUVER (2 meetings): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Red Bulls 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 2
LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/1: NY 1, VAN 2 (own goal 51 – Harvey 58; Miller 83)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- Whitecaps FC have never lost to the Red Bulls. The teams played to three consecutive 1-1 draws in 2011-12, before Vancouver claimed a 2-1 victory last June 1 at Red Bull Arena in the only 2013 meeting between the teams.
- Coaches record: Carl Robinson vs. NY: first game … Mike Petke vs. VAN: P1 W0 L1 D0
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Despite having finished above the .500 mark for the first time in three MLS seasons, Vancouver Whitecaps FC did not return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2013. They will look to gain a postseason berth for the second time in the North American top flight in 2014 behind the tutelage of a new boss, former MLS midfielder Carl Robinson, who took over for Martin Rennie after he held the reins for two seasons.
Whitecaps FC concluded their preseason schedule with the best record in the Rose City Invitational, following a 1-1 draw Saturday with the host Portland Timbers. Whitecaps FC were unbeaten in the three tournament games.
Here’s the Whitecaps FC team: David Ousted; Ethen Sampson, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey; Nigel Reo-Coker, Gershon Koffie (Matias Laba 56'); Russell Teibert, Nicolos Mezquida (Erik Hurtado 56'), Sebastion Fernandez; Kenny Miller (Kekuta Manneh 66')
- Whitecaps FC have completely rebuilt their midfield, the final piece coming just days before the season opener when Chilean attacking midfielder Pedro Morales was signed to a Designated Player contract. The 28-year-old Morales had scored four goals in 22 appearances over the past two seasons for Malaga in Spain’s La Liga.
- “Pedro is an exciting attacking player and we are thrilled to have him join our club,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said. “He is a natural No. 10 who will bring a creative flair to our attack and is someone the supporters will enjoy watching.”
- Whitecaps FC had also picked up a Designated Player in a trade, acquiring Matias Laba from Toronto FC.
- “He's different to what we’ve got. He’s tough, he covers a lot of ground, defensively minded, but he does the not-so-pretty work,” Robinson said. “His interception ratio is fantastic, he tackles and he’s a link player. I think it’s important if you’re going to play in that area of the field in modern-day football that you are a link player and he’s certainly got that attribute.”
- Laba is expected to play alongside Nigel Reo-Coker in deep-lying central midfield roles behind Morales.
- “It’s going to look totally different,” Robinson said. “Different players bring different attributes and I think itís important that midfield is the engine room of the team and I think games are won and lost in those areas. I know I’m sort of bringing in new players in those areas, but the players already here have got fantastic qualities. It’s important that we’ve added to the group and we’ve done that and I hope it is really successful.”
- There was also a key addition to the backline as Iranian international Steven Beitashour was picked up in a trade with the San Jose Earthquakes.
- “I like to attack,” Beitashour said. “I'm very competitive, so I don't like to get beat. ... As a defender, you do your job first, but I'm hungry to go attack and help set up goals, get some assists.”
- Whitecaps FC have not lost a home opener since coming into MLS. They’ve twice defeated Toronto FC, including a 1-0 victory to open the 2013 season, and also knocked off the Montreal Impact.
IN: DF Christian Dean (1/15/14 - SuperDraft); MF Andre Lewis (1/15/14 - SuperDraft); MF Mehdi Ballouchy (1/26/14 - Re-Entry Stage 2); DF Steven Beitashour (1/27/14 - traded from San Jose); MF Sebastian Fernandez (2/5/14 - loan from Boston River); MF Nicolos Mezquida (2/5/14 - transfer from Boston River); GK Paolo Tornaghi (2/18/14 - free); MF Matias Laba (2/26/14 - trade from Toronto); GK Marco Carducci (3/4/14 - Homegrown); MF Pedro Morales (3/5/14 - free transfer)
OUT: DF Lee Young-Pyo (10/27/13 - retired); DF Greg Klazura (11/25/13 - option declined); GK Joe Cannon (11/28/13 - option declined); GK Simon Thomas (11/28/13 - option declined); DF Brad Rusin (11/28/13 - option declined); MF Jun Marques Davidson (11/28/13 - option declined); MF Daigo Kobayashi (11/28/13 - option declined); FW Tommy Heinemann (11/28/13 - option declined); FW Corey Hertzog (11/28/13 - option declined); GK Brad Knighton (12/11/13 - traded to New England); FW Camilo Sanvezzo (1/17/14 - transfer to Queretaro); MF Matt Watson (3/5/14 - trade to Chicago)
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls won the first major honor in the club’s history in 2013 when they claimed the Supporters’ Shield, emblematic of the best overall record in Major League Soccer. But the Red Bulls saw their campaign derailed at the first stage of the MLS Cup Playoffs by the Houston Dynamo. Mike Petke guided the club to the best overall record in his first season as an MLS head coach.
- The Red Bulls ended in a tie for third place in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic following a wild 4-4 draw with NASL side Orlando City SC in their tournament finale.
- Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a pair of goals, while Ibrahim Sekagya and Jonny Steele also added tallies. Wright-Phillips ended the preseason with three goals to lead the club.
- Here’s the Red Bulls team: Luis Robles, Chris Duvall (Richard Eckersley 59’), Armando, Ibrahim Sekagya, Kosuke Kimura (Bobby Convey 46’), Lloyd Sam, Eric Alexander (Ruben Bover 86’), Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele, Peguy Luyindula, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Andre Akpan 78’)
- “We're always looking towards Vancouver. The lineup that I put out there tonight is not going to be the one that starts against Vancouver. There’s a lot that’s going to happen between now and then,” said Petke. “However, having said that, look at a young guy like Chris Duvall, we wanted to see him tonight and see if he could play in that type of atmosphere in somewhat of a first team game and he did very well.”
- Peguy Luyindula lined up next to Bradley Wright-Phillips as the strike pair for the Orlando City match. Luyindula has lined up both as a central midfielder and second striker in preseason.
- “When he has the ball at his feet to hold it, there’s not many guys in this league who have the experience and the ability to hold the ball like that,” said Petke. “If I only had one wish, we would have got him 10 years ago, but for his age and what we expect out of him we’re very satisfied with Peguy.”
- The Red Bulls made few moves during the offseason, acquiring Bobby Convey and Richard Eckersley in trades with Toronto FC, and also signing Brazilian midfielder Armando.
- “It’s a lot easier if you’re a team that’s rebuilding completely or finished extremely low that you know you can take those chances,” Petke said. “But like I said, I’m not about to disrupt the quality that I think we have in this team and the chemistry we’ve built up over a year to bring someone new that we think could be good but giving up something that is obviously valuable to us. It’s difficult within the league, but not impossible.”
- Two Red Bulls players were called into their respective national teams for midweek friendlies. Midfielder Tim Cahill was called in by Australia for its match vs. Ecuador, and defender Roy Miller was called in by Costa Rica) for its match against Paraguay.
IN: MF Bobby Convey (12/13/13 - trade from Toronto); DF Armando (1/23/14 - free transfer); DF Richard Eckersley (1/27/14 - trade from Toronto)
OUT: GK Kevin Hartman (11/21/13 - retired); DF David Carney (11/25/13 - option declined); DF Brandon Barklage (11/25/13 - option declined); DF Heath Pearce (11/27/13 - out of contract); FW Amando Moreno (12/9/14 - out of contract); FW Fabian Espindola (12/9/13 - option declined); DF Markus Holgersson (1/2/14 - contract terminated)