Playing their final match of September, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10W-12L-8D) host Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC (13W-7L-9D) for the second time this season on Saturday evening.
In the midst of an important four-match home stand, Martin Rennie’s side continue their pursuit of securing an MLS Cup Playoff berth by taking on their long-time Interstate 5 rivals on Bell Pitch at BC Place. The weekend clash looks set to be another memorable derby occasion, with a sold-out crowd expected in downtown Vancouver. This will include a large travelling contingent of Sounders FC supporters for the weekend showdown.
Saturday's match will also be the third and final time this season that Whitecaps FC will wear their third kit of Arbutus brown in an MLS match.
Saturday's match between Whitecaps FC and Seattle Sounders FC at BC Place kicks off at 6 p.m. PT and is SOLD OUT. CLICK HERE for more information on Whitecaps FC tickets for future matches.
Whitecaps FC's home match versus Seattle Sounders FC can also be seen live on TSN2 and Bell mobile devices at 6 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to Saturday’s match live on TEAM 1040 radio (change from TEAM 1410) and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 4 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 8 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow Saturday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.
Last weekend’s draw with Colorado Rapids was not the ideal way to start an important end-of-season home stand, but there were indications in last Sunday’s performance to suggest that Whitecaps FC may have turned a bit of a corner from a challenging spell that resulted in five-straight league defeats. The second half of the 2-2 result was particularly notable, as Kenny Miller made an impact off the substitutes’ bench and linked up well with youngster Darren Mattocks. This could see both attackers in Saturday’s starting XI, and should that be the case, both players will relish putting pressure on the Sounders FC backline like they did during the first half in Seattle on August 18.
Beyond the importance of claiming a result to improve their playoff situation, Rennie’s side will also have the motivation of trying to earn their first MLS victory over Seattle and their first Cascadia Cup win in the club’s MLS era. The ‘Caps will look to build on the energy of an expected sold-out crowd at BC Place this Saturday night, with anticipation that this clash may add to the folklore that is Vancouver versus Seattle and the Cascadia Cup. Like most derby contests, Whitecaps FC will know that facing an arch-rival like Sounders FC has much to do with the various battles that will take place all over the BC Place pitch. With plenty at stake for both clubs on Saturday, those battles will surely be intense.
Rennie will be forced into one change this weekend. Speedy winger Dane Richards is suspended for the visit of Seattle because of caution accumulation. On the injury front, youngster Omar Salgado may not be far away from selection, despite being listed as questionable after suffering a foot fracture while on international duty with the United States U-20 squad in early June. Goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre (concussion symptoms) and midfielder Russell Teibert (quad) are listed as probable.
Seattle have plenty to play for when they make their short trip up to Vancouver this weekend. With a win or draw on Saturday, the Rave Green will clinch a playoff berth for a fourth consecutive season since becoming an MLS club in 2009. What that will require is an end to a two-match winless streak by Sigi Schmid’s side following a Cascadia Cup derby draw at Portland Timbers on September 15 and last weekend’s 2-1 home defeat to top MLS club San Jose Earthquakes. Sounders FC will have their full concentration on making an MLS Cup run after recently securing a quarterfinal berth in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League for the New Year.
The Washington State outfit may be boosted by the return of Mauro Rosales, who was recently sidelined with a quad strain. The Argentine playmaker’s influence on Seattle’s attack this season has been pivotal, with Rosales currently sitting third in MLS with 13 assists. Those to benefit from Rosales’ many assists include two of the league’s most potent strikers in United States international Eddie Johnson and Colombian star Fredy Montero. The pair are among the top-ten goalscorers in MLS, with 13 and 12 goals to their names respectively. They also have a fully-fit Steve Zakuani, who scored Seattle’s consolation goal against the Earthquakes last weekend.
Sounders FC will be without defender Andrew Duran and Canadian U-23 international Babayele Sodade (both knee) this weekend. Defender Patrick Ianni (adductor strain) is questionable to face the ‘Caps, while German midfielder Christian Tiffert (ankle) is listed as probable.
Saturday's match is the fifth MLS meeting between Vancouver and Seattle, and the 116th time these Interstate 5 rivals have met in a competitive contest. In their first meeting of the season on May 19, Seattle held Vancouver to a 2-2 draw at BC Place. Whitecaps FC twice took the lead through Alain Rochat and Camilo Sanvezzo, but Sounders FC earned an away point with second-half goals from Johnson and Montero. On August 18, Seattle won the second clash of 2012 by a 2-0 scoreline following second-half goals from Montero and Johnson in front of 55,718 at CenturyLink Field. Since joining MLS, Whitecaps FC have a 0W-2L-2D record versus their arch-rivals from The Emerald City.
Prior to facing each other in MLS last year, Vancouver and Seattle met in no less than 111 competitive meetings between 1974 and 2008. The first 28 matches took place in the old North American Soccer League (NASL) between 1974 and 1983, with the 'Caps recording 17 wins and 11 defeats versus Sounders FC. Soccer fans in both cities then had to wait until 1994 for the rivalry to be renewed, with Sounders FC claiming the upper hand during their 83 meetings in the old United Soccer Leagues First Division. Between 1994 and 2008, Sounders FC recorded 43 wins, 25 defeats, and 15 draws versus Whitecaps FC. As a result, Sounders FC lead Whitecaps FC with an all-time record of 55 wins, 43 defeats, and 17 draws, though Whitecaps FC have a better overall home record of 26 wins, 24 defeats, and nine draws versus Seattle.
There are numerous player connections between these two rivals. Sounders FC centre back Jeff Parke spent part of the 2009 USL-1 season with Whitecaps FC, while goalkeepers Andrew Weber (Seattle) and Joe Cannon (Vancouver) were teammates at San Jose Earthquakes. Seattle’s Rosales and Whitecaps FC defender Young-Pyo Lee have previously battled each other in the Dutch Eredivisie. Rosales played for AFC Ajax, while Lee played for rivals PSV Eindhoven.
Saturday’s match is also the seventh contest in this year’s Cascadia Cup competition. This is the second season that Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland Timbers are contesting the fan-based trophy as MLS clubs. Founded in 2004, the competition was conceived amongst the supporters of all three clubs, who were then members of USL-1. The Cascadia Cup is awarded to the club that has the best head-to-head record in MLS regular season matches between their Pacific Northwest rivals.
With three matches remaining in this year’s Cascadia Cup, Portland lead the three-club standings with a 2W-0L-2D record (eight points) followed by Seattle with a 1W-1L-2D record (five points). Vancouver are third at 0W-2L-2D (two points).
Sounders FC won the first all-MLS Cascadia Cup title in 2011 after registering a 2W-0L-2D record to finish top of the three-club standings. The Timbers were second with a 2W-1L-1D record, while Whitecaps FC finished third with 0W-3L-1D record. The ’Caps are still in search of their first Cascadia Cup match victory as an MLS club.
Seattle join Whitecaps FC as the two most successful sides in the Cascadia Cup. Vancouver won the trophy in 2004, 2005, and 2008, while Sounders FC won the title as a USL-1 club in 2006 and 2007, and as an MLS outfit in 2011. Portland won the Cascadia Cup in 2009 and 2010 when the trophy was only contested between Whitecaps FC and the Timbers at the North American second division level.
NEXT UP: CHIVAS USA
Following Saturday’s derby clash versus Seattle, Whitecaps FC will have a quick turnaround and host Western Conference rivals Chivas USA at BC Place for the first time in MLS history on Wednesday night, October 3, at 7 p.m. PT. Individual match tickets start at $20, plus applicable service charges, and are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, and Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.855.646.2277). CLICK HERE for more information on Whitecaps FC tickets.
Whitecaps FC's home match versus Chivas USA can also be seen live on Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet ONE, and Bell mobile devices at 7 p.m. PT. 'Caps fans can also listen to next Wednesday’s match live on TEAM 1410 radio and teamradio.ca, starting with the pre-game show at 5 p.m. PT. TEAM 1410 will also have a two-hour post-game show, which will begin following the match at around 9 p.m. PT. Fans can also follow next Wednesday’s match on Twitter @WhitecapsMatch.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC have launched a special offer for fans on 2013 Season Tickets. To thank fans for their continued support, those who purchase Season Tickets between now and Wednesday, October 3 will receive a special signing bonus of 12 per cent off. Fans can take advantage of this offer and renew or purchase their Season Tickets online at whitecapsfc.com or by phone at 604.669.9283.