The Seattle Sounders return home to face their other Cascadia rivals in the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, September 17th. Both teams are currently sitting outside the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Anything less than three points from either team will diminish any chance at making the playoffs. This will be the second of three meeting this season.
Last time out
The Sounders are coming off of a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. San Jose controlled a majority of the game for the first 20 minutes that saw them grab an early lead when Chris Wondolowski put the home team in front in the 20th minute. Seattle tied the game in the 80th minute when Nicolás Lodeiro’s free kick went through the box and found the back of the net.
The Whitecaps are coming off their first win since July 13th when they defeated the Columbus Crew 3-1 last Saturday. Columbus took an early lead in just the 11th minute when Ola Kamara scored for the Crew. Vancouver received a goal to level it at 1-1 just two minutes later after an own goal from Gaston Sauro. Two second-half goals from Andrew Jacobson (74’) and Erik Hurtado (82’) put the game away for Vancouver.
These two teams met early in the season on March 19th in Seattle. Vancouver walked away with a 2-1 victory even though there were some questionable penalty calls by referee Mark Geiger. The first game early in the match when Geiger awarded a penalty to Vancouver after it appeared Sounders left back Joevin Jones fouled Christian Bolaños in the box. Replays showed that Jones never touched Bolaños and Pedro Morales converted from the spot to give the Whitecaps and early 1-0 lead just ten minutes into the match.
Seattle got on the board in the 52nd minute after Andreas Ivanschitz was able to curl a free kick into the back of the net. After Morales committed a foul just outside the box, Ivanschitz and Clint Dempsey stood over the kick. Ivanschitz delivered the much-needed goal to get the Sounders back into the game.
Vancouver received another penalty late in the second half after Geiger deemed Sounders center back Chad Marshall fouled Blas Perez in the box. Once again, replays showed it to be something else. The replay showed Perez leaning into Marshall as he slid to try to knock the ball away. Geiger didn’t hesitate and pointed to the spot. Morales once again stepped up to take the penalty. Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei guessed correctly but was not able to stop the shot.
What to expect
Expect both teams to come out firing from the start. Both know that three points in paramount in this game. The Sounders may be missing a few of their players in this one. Dempsey is still not cleared to play and there is no indication when he will be able to play again this year. Sounders captain Brad Evans missed last week’s game and has hardly participated in training at all this week. Vancouver knows a win will pull them within one point of sixth place depending on what happens in the Timbers game two hours later.
As mentioned above, both teams need this game badly. This is a rivalry game so expect a physical game between these two. Seattle wants to get back on the right foot and make the playoffs for the eighth straight season while Vancouver will want to continue last week’s success.