Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, September 17 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)
Match Odds: Seattle 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Vancouver 100/30
Seattle Sounders take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in the latest battle between these Cascadia Cup rivals on Saturday afternoon, in what is a huge battle between sides stuck outside the playoffs in the Western Conference.
Seattle have seen their form pick up since long-time manager Sigi Schmid left his position in the summer. The arrival of Nicolas Lodeiro has inspired a change of fortunes but they still have a lot of work left to do if they are to make the postseason.
The Sounders sit ninth in the West heading into the weekend, six points off the final remaining playoff spot with seven to play. It’s up for grabs but they need to be winning games like this one if they are to make the playoffs.
A 1-1 draw at San Jose last time out took their winless run to three but the Sounders have only lost one of their last seven and look solid at the moment.
The same can’t be said for the Whitecaps, even if they did win 3-1 at Columbus last weekend. That victory snapped an eight-game winless run and they now need to build on it if they are to move back into the top six.
Vancouver have just five games left, including this one, to try and recover. They will face the Sounders again in two weeks in what should be an even more intense battle than the one set to play out at CenturyLink Field.
Vancouver had only scored one goal in seven prior to the victory at MAPFRE Stadium last time out, so goalscoring has clearly been a major problem for Carl Robinson’s troops.
The only other meeting this season ended 2-1 to Vancouver in Seattle back in Week 3. These two are also fighting each other and Portland for the Cascadia Cup Series, with the ‘Caps three points behind the Timbers in the race for that accolade.
Seattle will be without Aaron Kovar and Clint Dempsey once again, with Dempsey still yet to return following concerns about an irregular heartbeat. Nicolas Lodeiro will look to lead the team to victory and will be out to feed Jordan Morris as much as possible. Roman Torres returned from a long-term injury at San Jose and may keep his place at centre-back. Joevin Jones and Ossie Alonso are one booking away from a suspension.
Vancouver have two injury concerns themselves, with Christian Dean and Kekuta Manneh both sidelined for Saturday’s derby. Star centre-back Kendall Waston is one booking away from suspension and needs to therefore be careful.
Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/W/D/L/D
Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/L/D/L/W
Key Stat: Vancouver has won four consecutive away games at Seattle in MLS, including a 2-1 win there back in March. In that time, the Whitecaps have outscored the Sounders 10-2 at CenturyLink Field.
Key Player: Nicolas Lodeiro – Seattle’s summer signing has been sensational since joining the club. He has six assists and three goals in seven games and looks dangerous every time he gets the ball. If Vancouver fail to cope with Lodeiro, they’ll be in for a long afternoon.
Seattle Sounders 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – The Sounders to end their three-year wait for a regular season home win over Vancouver with a narrow victory on Saturday. The Whitecaps may have won their last outing but they’ve been in dreadful form over the past couple of months and don’t look like a side ready for the playoffs. Seattle are pushing hard and will likely move in front of their Cascadia rivals on Saturday.