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Whitecaps to play three games in B.C. Place

The Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club anticipates holding three games at the renovated B.C. Place Stadium in its inaugural Major League Soccer season.

North America's premier soccer loop released its 2011 schedule Thursday, and the expansion Whitecaps had most of their requests met, including the opportunity to play several games at the retractable-roof stadium.

The 54,000-seat facility, which is undergoing a $563-million facelift, is expected to be ready by Sept. 30. Before that, the Caps will play home matches at 27,000-seat Empire Field.

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The games scheduled for B.C. Place include an Oct. 2 derby against the expansion cousin Portland Timbers, an Oct. 12 game against D.C. United, and the regular-season finale against the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 22.

The Whitecaps begin their new era on March 19 with a home match against Toronto FC. Other marquee home games include a May 28 encounter with French international Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls, a July 30 matchup against the L.A. Galaxy, which may include English star David Beckham, and an Aug. 27 game against the Houston Dynamo, when Empire Field will be surrounded by the sights and smells of the Pacific National Exhibition's annual fair.

In terms of rivalries, Vancouver's two closest neighbours do not make it to town until late in the season. Besides the match against Portland, the Whitecaps play host to the Seattle Sounders FC on Sept. 24. They travel to the Emerald city on June 11, and to Portland on Aug. 20.

The Whitecaps play in Toronto on June 29 and, outside of MLS play, will also have a home-and-home series with the Montreal Impact in a reconfigured Nutrilite Canadian championship series.

Both Canadian MLS teams will face rivals from the eight-team North American Soccer League, a tier-two circuit. TFC faces Edmonton FC, with the victor advancing to a home-and-home series against the winner of Vancouver-Montreal.

The Canadian champion receives a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League.

Vancouver Whitecaps MLS schedule:

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March 19 v. Toronto

March 26 at Philadelphia

April 2 v. Kansas City

April 6 v. New England

April 10 at Houston

April 16 v. Chivas

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USA April 23 v. Dallas

April 30 at Columbus

May 7 v. San Jose

May 11 at Chicago

May 14 at New England

May 28 v. New York

June 1 at Chivas USA

June 4 at Real Salt Lake

June 11 at Seattle

June 18 v. Philadelphia

June 25 at Kansas City

June 29 at Toronto

July 6 v. Columbus

July 9 at Colorado

July 16 v. Real Salt Lake

July 20 at San Jose

July 30 v. Los Angeles

Aug. 7 v. Chicago

Aug. 13 at D.C. United

Aug. 20 at Portland

Aug. 27 v. Houston

Sept. 10 at New York

Sept. 17 at Los Angeles

Sept. 24 v. Seattle

Oct. 2 v. Portland

Oct. 12 v. D.C. United

Oct. 15 at Dallas

Oct. 22 v. Colorado

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

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