This morning, the MLS released all the schedules for the 2015 season. After thoroughly reading through our very own Vancouver Whitecaps 34 matches, I have highlighted some interesting games to watch out for this season (in order of dates):
March 7th vs Toronto FC
Our season opener comes up against the team we started our 2013 season off, to which we won 1-0 thanks to a Gershon Koffie strike. I wouldn't be too worried about Toronto, as they are obviously having some squad and management troubles with the departure of Doneil Henry and the likely transfer of Jermain Defoe away from BMO Field. This looks like a match where the Caps will keep there 100% season opening win streak alive.
March 21st at Orlando SC
This will be the Whitecaps first game against the new MLS side boasting the likes of Kaka, Brek Shea, Omobi Okugo, Aurellian Collin and expansion draft first pick (I'm in still in awe of this decision) Donovan Ricketts. Their squad looks pretty solid as it stands right now, however it is early in their MLS life so expect the unexpected.
April 2nd as Portland TImbers
The last two times the Caps played Portland they lost 3-0, probably our two low point of the season. However, the Caps final day win against the Colorado Rapids pushed the Timbers immediately back out of the playoffs after winning 2-0 in Dallas. Both teams will want revenge, and those kind of games are never to be missed.
April 16th vs Seattle Sounders
Again a Cascadia match, except this time only one team will be hungry for revenge. Last time these two teams met up last year the Caps won 1-0 on the road to win the Cascadia cup. Dempsey and co. will look to upset us on our home turf (literally), a feat they haven't accomplished since the BC Place days.
June 3rd at Montreal Impact
Ah, the Impact. A team that last season was so poor, but somehow drew us 0-0 at home in what was undoubtedly the snoozer of the 2014 season. Vancouver will look to make the match more exciting against a team that showed attacking potential at the end of the season last year. Watch out for Ignacio Piatti, who was a midseason acquisition last year. He was doing great thing up in Quebec until he was sidelined for the rest of the season with an injury. This match also starts off a five game road trip for the Caps due to the Women's World Cup. Yikes.
July 12th vs Sporting Kansas City
Home sweet home. This will be the Whitecaps first home match in over a month and should be a thriller. SKC suffered an early exit in the playoffs last season due to some late-game heroics from Bradley Wright-Phillips and the now retired Thierry Henry. They will be looking to change that this season and have already brought in some fresh faces to help their cause. At this point in the season, I expect Sporting to be firing on all gears, which could cause a problem for our Caps.
August 22nd vs FC Dallas
Our first crack at revenge against the Texan side that knocked us out of the playoffs last year. Thanks to some
downright horrible, disgusting, no-good, shameful controversial refereeing, Vancouver was knocked out by a late penalty from FC Dallas midfielder and Michael Cera's evil twin-brother Michel. Vancouver will no doubt look to win this match at all costs, and will allow players like Kendall Waston, Sebastian Fernandez and Pedro Morales closure after some unimpressive performances in Frisco.
September 26th vs New York City FC
David Villa, Ned Grabavoy and Frank Lampard (undetermined) will square off against Vancouver for the first time in September. A special treat for Caps fans to see the great David Villa in the flesh and hopefully Frank Lampard if he is no longer with Manchester City. Also, this will be Mehdi Ballouchy's homecoming for the Caps after a satisfactory single season in Vancouver.
October 25th vs Houston Dynamo
Last year on the final day of the season, the Caps battled through some tense moments to claim a needed 1-0 victory, thanks to a goal from mid-season signing and refrigerator impersonator Kendall Waston. The Caps will wish for similar luck against our now Western Conference rival, the Houston Dynamo. This matchup scares me a little now that Erick Torres has joined them in the offseason. Cubo has had great success against the Caps, netting 4 goals in 4 games against us. Pray he's gone back to Chivas Guadalajara by then.
Which matchup are you most excited to watch?