By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.comTo follow the live match blog, click here.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC continue their build-up towards the 2009 season when they visit Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion club Seattle Sounders FC in a closed-door friendly on Sunday.
Already a month into their extended preseason campaign, Teitur Thordarson's squad have played the Whitecaps Residency team in a couple of scrimmage contests before defeating Trinity Western University Spartans 3-1 in last Friday's friendly at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.
On Saturday, the USL First Division champions will travel down Interstate 5 in preparation to face Sigi Schmid's Sounders squad in a midday kickoff on Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. The Blue & White will have many of their new players appearing in the match, with latest signing Marco Reda included in Vancouver's 19-player traveling squad. Residency youngsters Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Ethan Gage, and Simon Thomas will also make the weekend trip to The Emerald City.
Having started preseason the same week as the Whitecaps, there is plenty of excitement and anticipation ahead of Seattle's inaugural season in MLS, with their first-ever match set for March 19 at home to New York Red Bulls. The side includes four members of last year's USL-1 Sounders squad in goalkeeper Chris Eylander, centre back Taylor Graham, striker Sebastien Le Toux, and midfielder Sanna Nyassi. Cuban midfielder Osvaldo Alonso will also be a familiar face to the Whitecaps after playing for USL-1 rivals Charleston Battery last season.
There are also a number of high-profile names in Schmid's squad. They include former English Premier League and USA international goalkeeper Kasey Keller and former Arsenal and West Ham United star Freddie Ljungberg. Two former Toronto FC players have also found their way to the Sounders, with defender Tyrone Marshall and forward Jarrod Smith now part of Seattle's plans for 2009.
Though it will be played in a low-key setting, a competitive contest should always be expected between these two Pacific Northwest rivals, with the Whitecaps having fond memories of their last trip to Seattle on September 20, 2008. In what was the final USL-1 meeting between the Whitecaps and Sounders, Vancouver defeated Seattle 3-2 to claim the fan-based Cascadia Cup for the third time in club history.
Sunday’s preseason friendly between the Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders FC kicks off at 12:00 p.m. PT on Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. *Please note that this match will be closed to the public*.