Gaffar on Whitecaps: Statement game

April 18, 2012, 2:22 AM

VANCOUVER — With a tough schedule on the horizon for the Vancouver Whitecaps no one is looking forward to it more than the Whitecaps themselves.

The best team in Major League Soccer, Sporting Kansas City (6-0-0), makes its way to BC Place on Wednesday (match airs live on Sportsnet Pacific at 7 p.m. PT) and the Whitecaps have a chance to see where they are at compared to league’s first-place side.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to see how good we are,” Whitecaps midfielder Davide Chiumiento said.

“We are playing against a very strong side not only offensively but they are a very good defensive team and (we) know it will be a tough task,” added the nifty playmaker.

The way the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been going for the Vancouver Canucks, this might be the perfect chance for the Whitecaps to make a statement in this city.

Now, the window may be very short for the Whitecaps but talking to a few players, they know they have an opportunity to create a broader fan base. But this is also a result driven business and they realize they won’t get there unless they win games.

“We know what we need to do; before we were even a MLS franchise there were very high goals from the top all the way down. With the way things are going for the Canucks, we want to be not a team to lean on, but a team fans are able to look at and cheer for,” Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit said.

After the Kansas City match, the Whitecaps will welcome FC Dallas on Saturday night and if by chance the Vancouver Canucks are eliminated by then the ‘Caps hope BC Place will be full.

“It’s always great to play in front of a huge crowd, our fans are amazing and the best in the league and if there are some unfortunate events that lead to the Canucks being knocked out then we will do everything in our power to be the best we can be for this city,” DeMerit said.

Vancouver will have a busy stretch of games coming up in the next few weeks with the Amway Canadian Championships taking place on May 2 and 9 with games against FC Edmonton.

“It’s important to give guys rest when they need it, so you will probably see different combinations throughout these next few weeks, ” coach Martin Rennie explained.

“Guys might be making MLS debuts and guys might have to play every single game, that’s just the way it works. We are in this business to win games and the team that we as a coaching staff decide to field every game I believe, will give us the best chance to win games.”

Irfaan Gaffar is a Vancouver-based writer who works out of the Sporstnet Pacific Bureau. Follow Irfaan on Twitter.


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