Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Whitecaps will go for their second consecutive victory to start the season when they take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday at BC Place.
Vancouver got off to an excellent start in their season-opener last week when they dispatched their Canadian rivals Toronto FC, 1-0, on the strength of a goal from Gershon Koffie.
Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie was happy with his team's resolve following the match:
"I think it's very good to get our first win the first game of the season. It's always a bit of a nervy affair, and in the first half we were a little bit scratchy in our passing and in our technique," Rennie said. "But in the second half, we changed the system, we changed the way that we created a lot of chances, created lot of pressure, and managed the ball well at the end of the game, and didn't give up a lot of chances. So overall, I'm very happy about it. It's an important win for us."
Vancouver's backline will have a new face in the starting 11 when the match kicks off as U.S. international Jay DeMerit suffered a torn left Achilles just eight minutes into last week's match and is likely out for the remainder of the season.
The absence of DeMerit will likely allow center back Brad Rusin to earn his first start for the Whitecaps, as he performed strongly after replacing DeMerit.
Columbus, meanwhile, is coming off a convincing 3-0 win over Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center last week.
With only a few thousand fans in attendance, Federico Higuain and Josh Williams scored second-half goals, and newcomer Dominic Oduro added a third for the Crew.
"It's good to go on the road and get a win," Oduro said. "[The Home Depot Center] is not an easy place to play. I think we did well defensively staying disciplined."
Against Chivas USA, the Crew controlled the midfield for most of the match as veteran Danny O'Rourke and offseason signing Agustin Viana combined to win 14 headers in the middle of the park, six of which were completed for a second pass.
"We won the middle of the field," Columbus coach Robert Warzycha explained. "It was a little bit shaky in the beginning. We lost the ball a couple times and it led to scoring chances, but I think we cleaned up everything pretty quick. The rest of the game was pretty good."
If Columbus is to claim three points on Saturday, O'Rourke and Viana will have to continue to keep possession and distribute the ball.
In three all-time, regular-season meetings between the clubs, Columbus holds 2-1-0 advantage. The sides met just once last campaign with the Whitecaps claiming a 1-0 victory on April 28, 2012 courtesy of a goal from Young-Pyo Lee.