Whitecaps FC women head to Seattle for cross-border battle with the Sounders women
On Wednesday night, Whitecaps FC women head across the border to play Seattle Sounders women at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. The match kicks off at 8 p.m. PT.
The 'Caps hope this will not be their last visit to Seattle this season, as the Sounders are hosting the 2011 United Soccer Leagues W-League "Final Four" Championship Tournament. Clinching a playoff spot is Vancouver's top priority, while the Sounders can consider Wednesday's match a dress rehearsal for the type of opposition they will face in the W-League semifinals, in which they get an automatic berth as tournament hosts.
Vancouver, along with goalkeeper Jaclyn Dunnett, are riding a four-match shutout streak. Head coach Hubert Busby Jr.'s squad have gone undefeated and have not surrendered a goal since a 5-2 defeat away to Santa Clarita Blue Heat on June 5.
In attack, 18-year-old rookie striker Jenna Richardson is heating up and is currently on a goal-a-game pace. She has scored Vancouver's last three goals since making her debut on June 17, away to Colorado Force.
Midfielder Tiffany Weimer, meanwhile, is in a three-way tie for the W-League goalscoring lead with seven tallies.
Seattle have struggled this season, and currently sit mid-table with a 3W-5L-2D record. They are coached for a second straight year by former Sounders star Leighton O'Brien - son of former Whitecaps FC midfielder Fran O'Brien.
Their top player is United States U-23 international Sophie Reiser, as the former Columbia University standout leads the Sounders with four goals. She also leads the team in shots and fouls and is second in minutes played.
The Sounders squad includes several key returnees from last season, including veteran former USA international midfielder Justi Baumgardt, veteran midfielder Tafara Pulse, and a trio of young attackers in Justina MacDowell, Megan Miller, and Jocelyn Charette.
New additions on defence are the Hill sisters, Mary and Nance, who both play for Seattle University. Goalkeeper Liz Ruiz, meanwhile, has played every minute this season.
HEAD TO HEAD
This will be the 37th meeting between the two Cascadia rivals. Whitecaps FC edged Seattle 1-0 in the ‘Caps home-opener at Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium earlier this season on a goal by Sydney Leroux. The 'Caps lead the all-time series 23W-6L-7D, and are 10W-3L-3D on the road. Last season, Vancouver won 3-1 in Seattle.
DUNNETT AND RICHARDSON NAMED TO W-LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK
United Soccer Leagues announced on Wednesday that Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Jaclyn Dunnett and striker Jenna Richardson have been named to the W-League Team of the Week. Dunnett has yet to allow a goal in net for Whitecaps FC this season, recording her fourth straight shutout in a 1-0 win versus Pali Blues this past Friday. Richardson, meanwhile, scored the lone goal in that match and has scored three goals in her first three career W-League matches. The 18-year-old native of White Rock, BC, was also named to last week's W-League Team of the Week.
On Friday, Whitecaps FC will be hosting a Canada Day PDL and W-League doubleheader against British Columbia rivals Victoria Highlanders FC at Richmond’s Minoru Park. First, the Whitecaps FC Residency squad suit up against Highlanders FC in PDL action at 4 p.m. PT, as head coach Richard Grootscholten’s side continue to fight for a playoff spot in the tight Western Conference, Northwest Division. Then at 7 p.m. PT, the Whitecaps FC women’s team host the Highlanders FC women, as they continue their quest to lock down a postseason berth. Tickets for the women’s match are available for just $12 at whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.