On May 5, 1974, the Vancouver Whitecaps played their first-ever match.

Their opponent? The San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose took that inaugural match with a score of 2-1.

This weekend, the two get set to meet for the first time in the 2024 MLS season and the 37th time in their history.

Over the 50-year history of this duel, things have become quite even. The Whitecaps have an 11W-11L-14D record against the Earthquakes. It remains quite even in the MLS era as well, with San Jose only having one more win in the series.

The home opener

Vancouver’s first match against Charlotte FC did not go according to plan. While they did get a 1-1 draw and a point in the standings, their first-half performance was lacklustre.

Assistant coach Michael D’Agostino, who was behind the bench for suspended head coach Vanni Sartini, said they “started a little bit sleepy.”

But thanks to a goal at the end of the first half from Ryan Raposo, a bit of a surprise for the player, goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina and pretty much everyone else in attendance, the Whitecaps were able to regroup and come out on the front foot for the second half.

Through 90 minutes, the home side registered more shots (11-7) and more passes in the opposition half (184-164).

It was not anything to write home about, but there were small moments that showed there is a team here once the rust is shaken off.

San Jose struggles

The Earthquakes have played two matches so far and have lost both: a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas away and a 3-1 loss to LA Galaxy.

San Jose struck first against Dallas, a poacher’s effort in the 6th minute from Benji Kikanović. Cristian Espinoza was decisive in the buildup, setting up the eventual goal was a smart cross from the right. Kikanović jumped on the rebound for his first of the season.

But after that, Dallas fought their way methodically back into the match. Their first came in the 25th minute as Earthquakes’ goalkeeper Daniel blundered his clearance off a corner. It went right to the foot of Asier Illarramedi, who hit it off his weak foot and still managed to cross the 20-yard distance into the back of the net.

Dante Sealy added another in stoppage time to steal the draw from San Jose and hand them their first loss of the season.

The Galaxy was clinical in their attack. All six of their shots hit the target. Goals from Joseph Paintsil, Dejan Joveljić and Riqui Puig ended the California Clásico in favour of the visitors.

Where the Whitecaps can succeed

Four of the five goals that have been scored against the Earthquakes this season so far have begun from buildup against their left-sided defenders.

Both Paul Marie and Rodrigues have been guilty of missing the wide right attacker and giving them space to hit balls into the 18-yard box.

This is good news for Vancouver. Why?

Ali Ahmed.

Ahmed is reportedly healthy and ready to go. Expect him to slot into the right wingback spot, similar to how he did off the bench against Charlotte.

While in attack, he is likely to take space as a no. 8, his trickery will give whoever is the attacking midfielder on the right a smart option at the top of the 18-yard box.

And if Ahmed is able to see the space, you can be sure he will take a run down the side of the pitch and be looking to put in a few balls of his own.


Only Sam Adekugbe (knee) is listed as out for this match. Adekugbe has come back into training, but it is too early for him to be considered for selection.

The match is on March 9. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.