2017 MLS Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Semifinal (2nd Leg): Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps
CenturyLink Field – Thursday, November 2 – 22:30 ET (02:30 GMT)
Match Odds: Seattle 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Vancouver 9/2
Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Preview
The Seattle Sounders meet Cascadia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps for the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal on Thursday night. The first leg ended in a fairly uneventful 0-0 draw. That result does set up for what should be a thrilling night here though.
The scenarios are fairly simple. A Seattle win inside 90 minutes will send them into the Western Conference Final. Another scoreless draw would take the game to extra-time and maybe penalties. A score draw or Vancouver win would send them through.
Both sets of fans have reason for optimism. Both teams have the quality to win Thursday’s meeting. And their previous meetings this season suggest there is nothing to pick between the two.
Seattle are the slight favourites as they have home-field advantage. They won all three home postseason games on their way to their MLS Cup title last year and haven’t lost a home playoff game since 2013.
They will be going out to win. A Vancouver goal would pile the pressure on the hosts but they know they have enough to get past the Whitecaps, having beaten them 3-0 at CenturyLink Field just over a month ago.
It’s been almost five months since the Sounders lost a home game. They have won three on the spin in front of their own fans, scoring 10 and conceding none in that stretch. They need to keep that going if they are to advance.
The Whitecaps might arrive with a more cautious game plan. They will be looking to counter and steal an away goal early to put themselves in the driving seat.
They have done well at CenturyLink Field in recent seasons too, despite the hostility from the home support. The Whitecaps have won four of the last six MLS meetings between the two sides at the stadium. Although they have dropped the most recent two without scoring.
These two went 1-1-1 through their three regular season meetings in 2017. That was followed by a 0-0 draw in the first-leg of this semi. So expect this to be close, hard-fought but most of all, entertaining.
Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Team News
Clint Dempsey is available for the Sounders again as he returns from suspension. Osvaldo Alonso and Gustav Svensson could be in line to start, after both came off the bench in the first-leg draw at BC Place. However, Jordan Morris and Brad Evans are out. Victor Rodriguez is listed as ‘questionable’.
Vancouver have a couple of significant injury worries of their own. David Edgar and Matias Laba are ruled out with long-term injuries. While Yordy Reyna and Cristian Techera might have to start on the bench as both are carrying knocks.
Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Key Points
Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/L/W/W/D
Vancouver Whitecaps’ last five: L/D/L/W/D
Key Stat: The Vancouver Whitecaps have never won an away game in the MLS Cup Playoffs (0-2-1). Their only draw was a 0-0 tie at Portland in 2015.
Key Player: Clint Dempsey – He’s back from suspension and should be raring to go on such a huge night. This will be his 10th game against the Whitecaps but he only has one career goal against them. However, that did come in the 3-0 win in late September. If anyone is going to provide the difference, it’s likely to be Dempsey.
Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Prediction
Seattle Sounders 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – This one should be close but it’s hard to look past the Sounders. The Whitecaps have never won an away game in the playoffs, while the Sounders tend to produce their best in front of their home crowd. An early goal would open the tie right up but we see the hosts prevailing by the odd goal on the night.