At last. Zero days until kickoff. Happy MLS day, everybody.
Obviously this is going to be an exciting afternoon for anybody who calls themselves a Vancouver Whitecaps supporter. The traditional Eighty Six Forever game-day thread, yanked out of the dirt in which it was happily mouldering for the occasion, goes up at 8:30 AM this morning. But in advance of the almost obnoxiously long preview, a few news and notes for this game/event/dawn of a new era.
- Given that they haven't played a real game yet, the Whitecaps have a heck of an injured list. Michael Nanchoff (groin) is out medium-term, while Shea Salinas (knee) will certainly miss this game and very likely his return to Philadelphia next week. Joe Cannon (ankle) should be in the squad but will probably sit on the bench backing up Jay Nolly; Cannon's been training and seen some pre-season action but if he winds up being too sore the backup spot will go to rookie Brian Sylvestre. John Thorrington (calf) will probably sit this game out. Captain Jay DeMerit (groin) is virtually certain to start, occasional fear-mongering aside. Greg Janicki (calf) is less certain but probable; Michael Boxall will step in if either DeMerit or Janicki need the night off.
- Toronto FC is less banged up but still not in great shape. Nicholas Lindsay, of course, is out for the season with a knee injury suffered in an off-season snowmobiling accident. Julian de Guzman is also recovering from an off-season knee injury and will miss this game. Dwayne De Rosario was watching a right leg injury earlier in training but seems to be fine now.
Game Day Off the Field:
- As of this writing, the weather forecast is for morning showers tapering off in the afternoon, with the sun coming out in the late afternoon. We might, in short, get a beautiful soccer day on wet turf with the sun peeking through the clouds breaking over the mountains. Or we might get rain.
- Also as of this morning (I'm writing this hours before the article will go up since, well, I need some sleep anyway), there are still good tickets available for the match. If you want to go but haven't got a seat yet, head over to whitecapsfc.com and buy now.
- The Vancouver Southsiders and their would-be members and fellow travelers will be meeting up at Oscar's Pub on East Hastings at the intersection with Boundary Road. Fans should start coming in at around eleven and will march to the match at 2 PM. Oscar's is expected to fill up pretty early, so Toronto FC fans will be meeting at Steamworks at 375 Water Street. Steamworks is a lovely pub but a long way from Empire Field, so allow plenty of time for travel.
- The Southsiders will be selling a 50/50 scarf bearing the logos of the Southsiders, Red Patch Boys, and U-Sector as a memento for the game. They've virtually all sold out but there are a handful still for sale at Oscar's; show up early if you want one.