TUCSON, ARIZONA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 on Wednesday in their first preseason match of 2016. Here are three things that stood out to me.
Preseason “friendly?” I’m not so sure.
This was a pretty heated affair from the start. In the opening minutes, Matias Laba set the tone with a big, sliding tackle on Obafemi Martins. Shortly later, Clint Dempsey took Nicolas Mezquida down before they exchanged a few words.
From there, things settled down a bit until later in the game, when 15-year-old Whitecaps FC Residency forward Alphonso Davies left the pitch with a bloody mouth after taking an elbow. The ‘Caps weren’t happy and they let the Sounders know after the game. They also let Davies know that they had his back.
The first regular season meeting between these two teams is March 19 at CenturyLink Field – just in case you were wondering.
HOLDING THEIR OWN
Cole Seiler made his first appearance for Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Wednesday, starting in the middle of defence with fellow American centre back Christian Dean.
They were thrown into the fire against Seattle’s first-choice lineup, featuring the likes of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Nelson Valdez, and Andreas Ivanschitz. Seattle managed to create a few chances, but Seiler and Dean more than held their own.
Seiler credits Dean for “showing him the ropes.”
“Christian and I have been playing with one another the last couple of practices,” Seiler told whitecapsfc.com. “He’s kind of taken me under his wing and shown me the style of play here, which isn't much different than what I’m used to. But he's definitely made me aware of little details and I’m going to try and hammer those into my game.”
So far, so good.
RIGHT BACK BATTLE
One of the most intriguing storylines this preseason is the battle at right back between Canadian Fraser Aird and Costa Rican Jordan Smith, who will join the team in Tucson in the coming days.
Aird, who turned 21 earlier this week, made a good first impression on Wednesday.
The Scarborough, Ontario native looked solid defensively alongside Dean and Seiler and, as advertised, he showed a willingness to get forward and whip in some crosses. He was also shown a yellow card for a hard tackle on Osvaldo Alonso. This kid won’t be intimidated, that’s for sure.
The 'Caps continue their preseason schedule on Saturday against New England Revolution (3:30 p.m. PT kickoff), before concluding their Tucson trip next Tuesday against Houston Dynamo.
For all the latest news on the team's 10-day training camp in Tucson, visit whitecapsfc.com/2016-preseason-tucson. And click here to find out how you can cheer on the ‘Caps, in person, at the 2016 Major League Soccer Preseason in Tucson.
Be a part of the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver! 2016 Whitecaps FC Season Tickets are on sale from $39/month all in. In addition to Season Tickets, Whitecaps FC offer a flexible range of ticket products, including Half-Season Packs, 5-Packs, a Youth Soccer Half-Season Ticket, and single match tickets. For more information, visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.