Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, March 19 – 22:00 ET (02:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Seattle 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Vancouver 5/2
Both sides have lost their opening two games and will be desperate for a win here to stop problems from worsening. Beating fierce rivals would be a real boost for either and so there’s plenty at stake in their early-season clash.
Seattle fell 1-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City in their opener, before losing 2-1 to Real Salt Lake last weekend. Both results will have disappointed Sigi Schmid but he need to rally his side to bounce back here.Embed from Getty Images
The visit of Vancouver is sure to be a testing one, especially as the away side has emerged victorious in each of the last four regular season meeting between these clubs. Seattle need to give the home crowd something to celebrate early to try and set the tone.
The Whitecaps will be hugely disappointed to have lost both games so far. Their 3-2 defeat to Montreal was followed up by a 2-1 loss in Kansas City last Saturday and Carl Robinson knows his team need to shore up defensively very quickly.
Vancouver were excellent at the back last year but have conceded five in their first two and have already seen both Ignacio Piatti and Dom Dwyer net braces against them through the first two weeks.Embed from Getty Images
The Whitecaps did win last season’s only regular season game in Seattle by an emphatic 3-0 scoreline, although the Sounders recorded victories in both games at BC Place. The home side has struggled in this fixture of late and so Vancouver will be confident of leaving with at least a point.
Both clubs have already received a red card this term and need to keep their discipline to prevent this rivalry from getting out of hand on Saturday evening.
Seattle will be without defensive duo Brad Evans and Roman Torres once again here, while Erik Friberg is also still sidelined through injury. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei is a doubt, as are Michael Farfan, Nelson Valdez and Jordan Morris, though both Valdez and Morris are expected to be fit.
Vancouver have two suspensions to worry about as they head to CenturyLink Field. Jordan Smith will sit out after being sent off in last week’s loss to SKC, while Kianz Froese has been given a one-game suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Christian Dean and Russell Teibert remain injured, while Kekuta Manneh is a doubt as he is struggling with an ankle injury.
Seattle Sounders’ form: L/L
Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L
Key Stat: The Sounders have lost three-straight home matches to Vancouver in MLS and have been outscored 1-8 in that time.
Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The Seattle star has had a slow start to 2016 but will hope to get his first goal of the campaign at home to Cascadia rivals on Saturday night. He can turn any game on its head in an instant, and needs to start producing the goods for the Sounders if they are to pick up positive results.
Seattle Sounders 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – It’s too difficult to separate these sides heading into this important game. Both will be desperate to stop the rot as far as losses are concerned and that could lead to a cagey affair. A draw would get both sides off the mark and so that looks the most likely result between two teams that have looked far from convincing so far.