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Game-Day News and Notes: No Way, It's Chivas USA!

As a soccer fan I'm really looking forward to seeing Jimmy Conrad... oh.
As a soccer fan I'm really looking forward to seeing Jimmy Conrad... oh.

Obviously, the only game everybody cares about in Vancouver Whitecaps world anymore is the MAJOR INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY taking place this July. We're going to be facing Manchester City, who are from England you know, and therefore everything else pales in comparison to the sheer joy of watching Man U's younger, stupider cousin frolic across a temporary field.

However, the formalities must be observed. There is this thing called the "Major Soccer League" apparently, and the Whitecaps are playing in it presumably as pre-season training for the big Manchester City game. This afternoon at 4 PM Pacific, the Whitecaps take on the oddly named Chivas USA. "Chivas", as you know, means "Goats", as in the Guadalajara club in Mexico. "USA" means "not Mexico". The Amerigoats have a formal connection to the real, Mexican Goats, of course, but that's no better any more than I'd like our team to be named "FC Zurich of Vancouver".

This being a Whitecaps news and notes post, it is of course littered with injury concerns. But there is, buried in there somewhere, a bit of good injury news. No, really. Not that good. But progress.

Enough Prelude Already, Who's Hurt:

  • Alexandre Morfaw's broken hand still hasn't healed up and shouldn't have any place in this lineup. I'm mentioning him first because I forget all about him most weeks and I wanted to make it up to the guy.
  • Similarly, Michael Nanchoff always comes last on these lists because he's always hurt; fighting a groin injury that has plagued him since the pre-season. Well, I'm here to report that Nanchoff is... still injured. Sorry.
  • Jay DeMerit aggravated his groin strain in his ineffective run out against the Houston Dynamo and may be out medium-term, on the order of a month. He certainly will play no part in this game.
  • Greg Janicki's hip is still a serious problem and is out this week.

On the Road to Recovery:

  • There have been rumours that Terry Dunfield (groin) may be in for a return to the game-day eighteen. Given his recent experience with Jay DeMerit, I think we all desperately hope that Teitur Thordarson doesn't rush Dunfield back, but his injury looked less severe than DeMerit's in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised to see Dunfield on the bench; in fact, I think I might be surprised not to see him.
  • Winger Shea Salinas (knee) is still waiting to make his Whitecaps debut; he was on the bench for our home game against New England but didn't make the trip to Houston. He's another guy I expect to see available on the bench, although I would be surprised to see him start and a little surprised to see him play for any reason other than emergency.
  • Another central midfielder, John Thorrington, actually has played this season, going into the New England game after Dunfield was hurt. He's said to have re-aggravated his strained quad in that game but on the field he looked fairly fit. Thorrington didn't travel to Houston but has an outside chance on starting this game, depending on how desperate Thordarson is.

The Inevitable International Duty Section:

  • Midfielder Gershon Koffie is still with the Ghanaian U-20 team. The Black Satellites are gathered in South Africa for the African Youth Championship; the tournament proper starts tomorrow and Ghana's first game against Nigeria comes on Monday. When Koffie returns (the tournament final is May 2 and Ghana, as defending champion, is picked to go far), he still has to serve a one-match suspension.

The Pleasingly Common Opponents' Injury Section:

  • Jimmy Conrad, one of my personal favourite MLS players, is expected to miss the game with a concussion. I have to admit that I had this match circled on my calendar and specifically booked the day off; as a soccer fan, I just want to see Old Man Conrad in person before he hangs up the spikes. His absence is good for the Whitecaps, of course, but still. I kinda wish he was playing.
  • Young forward Tristan Bowen (ankle) and bright young midfielder Blair Gavin (hamstring) are confirmed out for Chivas. Journeyman Brazilian midfielder/Toronto FC alumnus Paolo Nagamura (calf strain) and veteran midfielder Mariano Trujillo (hamstring) are also not expected to participate. This leaves Chivas's midfield in rather mediocre condition, which will be a relief to all of us if we have to watch Jeb Brovsky start again.