Whitecaps versus Earthquakes: Match Preview

Some like it saved - fans love Busch. - Lyndsay Radnedge | Center Line Soccer

Yes fans, it's time to pour some maple syrup on your Canadian bacon and lace up your metric AstroTurf cleats for the first trip of the season "up north" to BC place.

Shea Salinas and Mark Watson return to Vancouver this weekend, and will reacquaint themselves with former Earthquakes Steven Beitashour and Mehdi Ballouchy when the Earthquakes return to action on Saturday, May 3 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place.  Kickoff is 4 p.m. PT on CSN+, 1590 KLIV and 1370 KZSF.  Former Earthquakes and Whitecaps goal-keeper Joe Cannon, currently working the games on KLIV, will undoubtedly provide his unique insight on the matchup.

The match will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the first match ever played for both clubs. The teams squared off for the first time in the North American Soccer League on May 5, 1974.  The Caps are going all out to celebrate their 40th anniversary, encouraging their fans to go 1974 retro.  Check out these photos from TheProvince.com - all black and white (do not adjust your screen) and some very "interesting" hairstyles.

The Earthquakes have yet to win at BC Place; the club is 0-3-0 at Vancouver's new home venue.  The last time the two clubs faced off, the Earthquakes extended their home-unbeaten streak to 14 games with a 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in front of a sold out crowd at Buck Shaw Stadium.  The Whitecaps will look to stop Quakes forward Chris Wondolowski - though Beitashour admits that Wondo is impossible to stop: "I don't think there's a formula to stopping Wondo. He's just that good."

Also of note for this weekend's game, Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch is just four saves away from becoming the seventh goalkeeper in MLS to reach 1,000 career saves. He made 367 saves with Columbus from 2002-06, 240 with Chicago from 2007-09 and has 389 since joining the Earthquakes at the start of the 2010 season. Busch is among the top goalkeepers in league history, ranking fourth all-time in shutouts with 78 and seventh all-time with 105 wins.

This is all great news for the Saves for SEALS program.  For the third consecutive season, Jon Busch has pledged to donate $50 for every save during the 2014 season to the Navy SEAL Foundation and the San Jose Earthquakes Community Fund has pledged to match that donation.  If Quakes Fans also want to support Busch's efforts, they can purchase the Saves For SEALs ticket package for the California Clasico on June 28 at Stanford Stadium. This package includes four tickets in Section 125 (directly behind the north goal), four custom-camouflage Saves For SEALs T-shirts (designed by Busch) and a post-game meet-and-greet with Busch on the field following the fireworks. The package is $200 with 80-percent of the proceeds benefitting the Navy SEAL Foundation.

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