The Vancouver Whitecaps come back to BC Place to square off against the San Jose Earthquakes in a rematch of the very first match in Whitecaps history played back on May 5th, 1974. Yes, the ‘Caps will pull out the fancy china and the silver cutlery to celebrate their first 40 years of history in Vancouver with their fans.
For the moment, the Caps are clinging to 5th spot in the Western Conference with ten points. They are just four points ahead of the Quakes but the Northern Californians have two games in hand. In addition, the Whitecaps arrive at this match winless in their last four since they didn't take full points in the month of April. They had two draws and two losses in that spell. With the Western Conference race heating up and a busy May schedule that includes two Amway Canadian Championship matches against Toronto, it is imperative that the boys in Blue and White take full points.
The Whitecaps come into this match with several question marks in their lineup. What is the deal with Nigel Reo-Coker? Will Robbo go back to the 4-4-2 diamond or stick with the 4-2-3-1? Is it time for Erik Hurtado to get a crack at the starting XI? Some of these questions will be answered tomorrow.
It will be a special occasion for Steven Beitashour who, after suiting up for the Earthquakes for the last four seasons, will now be defending the Whitecaps cause facing his old teammates. It will be a great battle between Beitashour and former Whitecap Shea Salinas, who has started the 2014 season in great form with four assists so far.
There are a few Earthquakes players to keep an eye on tomorrow:
Chris Wondolowski: The 2012 Golden Boot winner is one of those players who might be invisible all game long until he scores a couple. The ultimate poacher, "Wondo" knows how to position himself at the right time and in the right place.
Alan Gordon: One of San Jose's ultimate pests, Gordon is that player who you love to hate, and for good reason. His antics are always intended to get under the skin of opposing players and fans alike. He often succeeds.
Shea Salinas: As mentioned before, the former Whitecap has hit the ground running in 2014 in what is shaping up to be a career year.
The games between Whitecaps and Eartquakes are always entertaining and can, at times, get scrappy with tempers flaring. I expect this match to be no exception. As I have mentioned on the From The Backline podcast, my favourite Whitecaps MLS moment is the game-winning goal by Eric Hassli in stoppage time against the Earthquakes.
If you are attending, the ‘Caps are asking you to be in your seat by 3:45pm so you can enjoy the festivities. Will you be sporting your best '74 outfit?