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Victory looks to upset champs Vancouver

June 4, 2007 - USL First Division (USL-1) - California Victory News Release

SAN FRANCISCO (June 4, 2007) -- The California Victory is looking to build on last week's much-improved performance when it tussles with the Vancouver Whitecaps Thursday for the third time this season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.

The Victory visited the Whitecaps back in April and tied the USL-1 champions 2-2 in California's first-ever league game, but the Canadians responded three weeks later by beating the Vics 3-1 at Kezar Stadium.

"Against Vancouver, we will need to continue to stay compact and organized in defense and capitalize on our chances, which we expect to be few," admitted Victory head coach Glenn Van Straatum. "But we saw significant improvement last week in our backline, especially with Patrick Ianni in the line-up."

Defender Ianni joined the Victory on-loan from Houston last week and immediately made a positive impact on California's back four. Van Straatum said that the 22-year-old from Lodi, Calif., will be available for the rest of the season, provided there are no conflicts or overlaps with Houston's game schedule.

"Having Ianni in defense gave us more of our game back in the midfield and attack," said Van Straatum. "The next step is to improve on converting our scoring opportunities, which were plentiful in the game against Charleston."

Van Straatum also noted that Mike Muñoz, who has not played since scoring a superb goal in the Victory's league opener in Vancouver, is slowly getting back to match fitness and will likely see some action this week, as will fellow midfielder Omar Aguayo.

Raul Palomares will also return, having served a one-match suspension following his red card against Seattle.

Despite the tough match-up with top-of-the-leaguers Vancouver, the Victory remains focused and determined.

"I'm optimistic about this week and know that this group response well under pressure," Van Straatum said.

The Victory (0-4-2, 12th place) plays the Vancouver Whitecaps (5-1-3, 1st place) Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco before the game or by visiting


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