Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who beat the San Jose Earthquakes with easy in the knockout round, will welcome Cascadia rivals, the Seattle Sounders to BC Place on Sunday. As one of the top two teams who of the Western Conference regular season, Seattle earned a bye for the knockout round.
Vancouver, on the other hand, had a game on Wednesday, October 25th as they welcomed San Jose to their home that is BC Place. Former Seattle Sounder Fredy Montero opened the scoring in that game for the hosts giving his side a 1-0 lead heading into halftime. The second half is when things started to get ugly. Christian Techera doubled the lead for Vancouver and Kendall Waston added a third not too long after. Substitute Nicolas Mezquida scored two goals in the span of three minutes to give his size a 5-0 lead and lockup a meeting with Seattle.
There have been countless memorable games in this rivalry including one that took place this season. Current Vancouver Whitecap, Fredy Montero, spent four seasons with the rivals across the border, the Seattle Sounders. The Colombian had a very successful stint in Seattle before moving to Portugal to play for Portuguese giants, Sporting CP. He then moved to Chinese side, Tianjin Teda FC, in 2016 who loaned him to Vancouver for the current MLS season.
The sides met for the first time this season on April 14th and it was Fredy's first match against his former club. The game started a little slow, at least on the scoresheet, as the two sides went into halftime at 0-0. Then, everything changed. In the 65th minute, Christian Techera whipped in an early cross to find Fredy Montero. The Colombian put the ball in the net and immediately showed the Seattle fans that he would not celebrate.
Just 15 minutes later, Montero doubles his goal tally for the night. Once again, he scored a header though this one was a little different. Off of a corner kick, the ball found Kendall Waston's head. Montero, who was just a few yards from goal, redirected Waston's header with a header of his own, giving him his second goal of the night but more importantly, giving his new Vancouver fans and teammates a 2-0 lead.
Will Bruin's late goal in the 89th minute proved to be nothing but a consolation goal as the game ended 2-1 and Seattle were forced to go home with zero points.
To add salt to the wounds, Montero scored an equalizer in the next meeting between the two clubs which ended 1-1 at BC Place.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: The hosts have a shorter injury list than Seattle, who are missing a number of key players. First up is 30-year-old defender David Edgar. The Canadian is suffering from a PCL and MCL tear and will miss the entirety of the playoffs.
The second and final player who will miss the match through injury is Matías Laba. The midfielder suffered an ACL tear in his right knee in August in a match vs the New England Revolution. Like Edgar, Laba will miss the entirety of the 2017 MLS playoffs.
Seattle Sounders: As mentioned, the visitors have quite the list of missing players for Sunday's match. Clint Dempsey will miss the match due to a red card he picked up in Seattle's last regular season game against the Colorado Rapids. Dempsey isn't the only USMNT player who will miss the match, as Jordan Morris who has not featured since September will also miss the match with a right hamstring strain.
Brad Evans will miss the match on Sunday as well as the entirety of the playoffs due to lower back pain. There are also three players listed as questionable. Those three players are Osvaldo Alonso, Victor Rodriguez, and Gustav Svensson.
Osvaldo Alonso is battling a right quad strain. Victor Rodriguez, who was recently purchased from Spanish side Sporting Gijón, is suffering from a right lateral quad strain. To wrap things up, Gustav Svensson is currently dealing with a left hamstring injury.
Following the match at BC Place, the two sides will prepare to travel to Seattle for the second leg of the series which will take place at CenturyLink Field on Thursday, November 2nd.
The winner of this two-legged series will take on the winner of the other Western Conference Semifinal which is between the third and final Cascadia club, the Portland Timbers, and the Houston Dynamo who beat Sporting Kansas City in the knockout round.