Sports Soccer

Whitecaps to host New York Red Bulls in home opener 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Oct 19, 2013; Commerce City, CO, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker (13) and Colorado Rapids midfielder Nathan Sturgis (24) collide in the second half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids won 3-2. (Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

Oct 19, 2013; Commerce City, CO, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker (13) and Colorado Rapids midfielder Nathan Sturgis (24) collide in the second half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids won 3-2. (Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

The Vancouver Whitecaps will open their fourth Major League Soccer season on March 8 when the New York Red Bulls visit BC Place, fuelling hopes Thierry Henry will finally make his local debut.

In previous New York visits to Vancouver, the former French international has been absent from the Red Bulls lineup. Currently, the 36-year-old striker and one of the biggest name in MLS is training with his old club, Arsenal of the English Premier League, to maintain his fitness.

With the league releasing its 2014 schedule Monday, other key home games for the ‘Caps include an April 19 clash with the Los Angeles Galaxy and two visits from the Seattle Sounders May 24 and July 5. The Portland Timbers make their lone trek up the I-5 Aug. 30.

Amway Championship rivals the Montreal Impact visit June 25, while Toronto FC won’t come to BC Place this year in MLS action. Instead, the two teams meet July 16 at BMO Field.

The ‘Caps busiest month will be July when they play three games at home and three more on the road. The team's final regular season game is Oct. 25 when they host the Colorado Rapids.

Elsewhere, the Whitecaps announced they didn’t exercise defender Greg Klazura’s contract option, leaving him exposed in Monday’s MLS waiver draft.

The decision ends the American’s two-year stint in Vancouver after he was selected in the second round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft. The fullback made two MLS appearances with the ‘Caps, both coming this past season in memorable fashion.

In his June 1 debut against New York, he was forced to leave the game after cramping up and scoring into his own goal. A week later, he came on as a substitute against the Seattle Sounders, only to surrender a penalty kick that proved the equalizer in an eventual loss.

The Rockford, Ill. native also played four Amway Championship matches with Vancouver and 24 MLS reserve league games.

“During his two seasons with Vancouver, Greg was a hard worker on the field and a great ambassador off the field,” Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi said in a statement. “We wish Greg the best of luck.”

 

 

 

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