Sounders Expect Tough Match At Vancouver
It’s a Northwest soccer rivalry dating back to 1974. Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC square off for the 133rd time 4 p.m. Saturday at BC Place. This one should be hotly contested just like the previous 40 years.
Seattle holds the all-time advantage over the Canadian club at 63-48-21, but it’s been a dogfight since the Whitecaps joined Major League Soccer, with Sounders holding the 3-2-3 edge.
“Rave Green” look to regain their road form after a humbling 5-nil defeat at New England earlier this month. Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid expects everything Vancouver has to give.
“Obviously they’ve gotten off to a good start as well. They’ve entrusted their forward line to a lot of young players and have a lot of speed up front, ” said Schmid. “They’ve played well at home, so it’s going to be a tough game for us, but a game we’ll be ready for.”
Schmid anticipates a wide open affair with Vancouver looking to counter-attack, opening up a similar ploy for the Sounders.
First place Seattle continues to play without star forward Clint Dempsey, and right outside defender DeAndre Yedlin. Both made the final 23-man U.S. World Cup roster. Midfielder Brad Evans returns to the Sounders, obviously disappointed being denied a trip to Brazil.
Without Yedlin, coach Schmid will likely use Jalil Anibaba at right back. He has size, speed, and experience to cover the dangerous Whitecaps attackers. Anibaba is less likely to overlap in a Seattle counter-attack. That means midfielders like Evans or Lamar Neagle will take on more offensive responsibilities.
The Whitecaps enter the fray with a 4-2-4 record (16 points), currently fourth in the MLS Western Conference. They have played three fewer games than Seattle. Vancouver has a balanced attack with Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh and Kenny Miller scoring 3 goals each. Lightning quick Darren Mattocks paces the Whitecaps with 3 assists.
The Cascadia Cup series has two more meetings in the regular season, at Vancouver July 5 then at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field October 10.
-Bill Swartz, 1090thefan-
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