MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 24, 2012
(All times Eastern)
D.C. United (0-2-0) at Vancouver (2-0-0), 10 p.m.
Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - Two teams heading in opposite directions in
the early stages of the 2012 Major League Soccer season will square off at BC
Place on Saturday as unbeaten Vancouver Whitecaps FC hosts winless D.C.
Vancouver is off to a flying start in 2012 after a rather abysmal debut season
in MLS. The Whitecaps are a perfect 2-0-0 and are coming off of a 1-0 defeat
of Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center, their first MLS road win.
"It's a big achievement," Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said. "It's only
three points and it's only our first game on the road, but based on the fact
the team didn't win on the road last season it did make it a bit more
significant than normal."
The 'Caps were lucky to come away with all three points as Chivas controlled
the match in large stretches, but Jay DeMerit popped up off a crucial set
piece to nod the visitors to victory with his first career MLS goal.
"Ultimately, we came in, just like last week with a game plan and we stuck to
it," DeMerit said after the match. "Sometimes on the road you have to defend
well as a team and score on set pieces, and thankfully we were able to do
Joe Cannon also spoke to the influence that last weekend's win can have on the
"I think it's a stepping stone for our confidence, you can see even [Saturday]
on the road we looked almost like a different team than at home," Cannon said.
"I think it's really just about creating that belief and that takes time and I
think it is coming."
Cannon was substituted in the first half of the defeat of Chivas after he
picked up a leg contusion, but is listed as probable for Saturday's tilt
Ben Olsen's men, meanwhile, have not had the same fortune as Rennie's squad
two games into the season.
D.C. has had two tough results against last season's Eastern and Western
Conference champions to open the new campaign. United fell to Sporting Kansas
City at home, 1-0, behind a last-gasp winner from C.J. Sapong before getting
thumped by the reigning champion Los Angeles Galaxy, 3-1, at The Home Depot
It is the third time that D.C. has opened an MLS season with back-to-back
"I am disappointed in the group because they are a reflection of me and the
organization," Olsen said. "At the minimum the fight has to be there every
game in this league."
With Dwayne De Rosario, Hamdi Salihi and Maicon Santos providing a great deal
of firepower up front, United's lone goal of the season has come from an
unlikely source in rookie Nick DeLeon.
After failing to make Olsen's squad for the home opener, the 21-year-old made
the most of a substitute appearance against the reigning champions as he looks
to warrant a spot in the lineup against the Whitecaps.
"It just shows his character and the type of player he is," De Rosario said of
DeLeon. "After not making the 18, he had a great week. He worked hard and once
he got minutes he made the most of them. That was a great finish."
03/23 19:54:54 ET