Whitecaps Kick Off Season in Utah

by Michael Martinez

The time has come!! It’s officially preseason for the Whitecaps and we finally have news on who we’re playing to start the season AND where. Surprise, we are not starting the season in Vancouver due to COVID restrictions, and rightly so. Similar to how we did it in Portland last season, the team will be staying with Real Salt Lake in Utah to ensure we play games. 

Image via Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Image via Vancouver Whitecaps FC

After this first month of the 2021 Training Camp, the boys will head south to Utah in April to start the MLS regular season. The Whitecaps will be training at America First Field during their stay in . Due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada, Vancouver, along with the other two Canadian MLS clubs in CF Montreal and Toronto FC, will begin the season in the U.S. with each club hosting matches in a U.S. city: 

  • Whitecaps in Sandy, Utah Rio – Tinto Stadium

  • Toronto FC in Orlando, Florida – Exploria Stadium

  • CF Montreal in Miami, Florido – Inter Miami CF Stadium

It seems to me that the other two got super lucky with their temporary location placement but that’s just me. I know I’d rather be in Florida than Utah. Then again maybe not cause COVID. 

Big boss, Axel Schuster on starting play in Utah,

“We are very thankful to John Kimball and the entire Real Salt Lake organization for welcoming us into their family, their facilities, and providing a home away from home,” “We will have a first-class set-up in Utah including an exclusive training pitch, gym and locker room. Also, special credit to our operations team as this is a monumental undertaking and player care is an important focus at our club.”

The Whitecaps will start their second decade in MLS as they “host” Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday, April 18. This is a real tough way to kick off the season. We have not had the best record against the Timbers as of late. While we barely hold the overall advantage against the rags, 40W-30L-18D, we have still lost the last 4 meetings. This will be a true test for the boys, especially for the new guys. Let’s hope for a solid start!

The ‘Caps will then head to Orlando, Florida for their second match of the season, to face fellow Canadians Toronto FC on Saturday, April 24. In 2020, the cross-country rivals faced each other three times, with the home side winning each time. The first two at BMO Field in Toronto, and Whitecaps winning 3-2 in their memorable return home at BC Place back in September. Altogether, the Whitecaps have another winning record of 40W-34L-16D against Toronto, tracing all the way back to their NASL years. When it comes to MLS though, we are 5W-6L-2D against Toronto. Which is never favorable, but I will take those odds. 

Shchuster on our opening opponents and the possibility of playing at home this season, 

“We are looking forward to kicking off the 2021 MLS season against two of our rivals, Portland and Toronto,” “We will absolutely miss seeing and hearing our fans at BC Place to start the season. Rest assured, our main objective is to play as many of our home games in Vancouver as possible. We’re working very closely with the league and public health officials and look forward to a time when our fans can safely attend matches at BC Place once again.”

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