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Whitecaps FC-Revolution Preview
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Combining MLS competition with the Canadian championships, the Vancouver Whitecaps will have played nine matches in the span of less than a month.
The rigorous schedule hasn't affected them yet.
Vancouver seeks its sixth consecutive overall victory - and fourth straight in MLS play - when it visits the New England Revolution on Saturday night.
The Whitecaps (5-2-2) have won each of their matches since April 21 - three in MLS and two in the Canadian championships. Following Saturday's contest, Vancouver will begin a two-match aggregate final Wednesday against Toronto for the Canadian title with an MLS game against Seattle in between.
From April 28-May 26, the Whitecaps don't receive more than three consecutive days off.
Leading scorer Sebastien Le Toux was supposed to sit out Wednesday's 3-1 win over non-MLS member Edmonton, but he entered the game as a substitute and scored twice.
"I'm happy to get our fifth win in a row and to get ourselves into a final," coach Martin Rennie told the team's official website. "I thought the way we finished the game was excellent. It's nice for us to be in the final of the competition and it's obviously a significant moment in the club's history."
Rennie's club beat San Jose 2-1 last Saturday in its most recent MLS contest on Eric Hassli's goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Vancouver needs one more league victory to match its total from last season as an expansion team.
The Whitecaps and Revolution played to a 1-all draw in their first meeting April 6, 2011, before New England earned a 1-0 victory on Sharlie Joseph's penalty kick May 14, 2011.
The Revolution's win came at home, where they'll play seven of their next nine games after beginning the season with six of nine on the road.
New England (3-6-0) has lost four of five after falling 2-1 to Real Salt Lake last Saturday. The Revolution fell to 1-5-0 on the road.
"We've had a tough schedule so far. A lot of traveling, and been on the road a lot, so it's going to be very good to get back home and have fresh legs," midfielder Clyde Simms said. "We feel like we are playing great soccer, just a little unfortunate with our results."
While New England has won two of three at home, Vancouver is 2-1-1 on the road in MLS play with three shutouts.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps said he's impressed with the Whitecaps' turnaround after their disappointing inaugural MLS campaign.
"It's really about how we defend as a group, but it's also going to be how we move the ball," Heaps said. "We have to make sure we have a good combination of collective defending with quick movement of the ball."
Fernando Cardenas originally received a red card in the 82nd minute against Salt Lake and was supposed to be suspended for Saturday's match. Heaps, though, appealed and the red card was rescinded, allowing Cardenas to be in the lineup.
Cardenas and Saer Sene had a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Colorado in New England's last home match May 2.
Updated May 11, 2012