Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders – Friday 7pm PT/10pm ET BC Place – Vancouver, British Columbia.
Vancouver vs Seattle is one of the three major derbies in the Western Conference. The other two games, of course, also involve clubs from the Cascadia, and are Vancouver against Portland and Seattle against Portland.
The nature of the Cascadia rivalry means that points are actually awarded not just for the standings in Major League Soccer on the table, but also for the Cascadia Cup. The Cascadia Cup is a fan-owned trophy that is competed for by the three teams located in the Pacific Northwest—Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbres, and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The winner of the Cascadia Cup is determined in a separate table, and the trophy is given to the team that has collected the most points against the other two teams in regular MLS season games. The game on Friday will be the first Cascadia Cup game of the Major League Soccer season.
Vancouver are not just the current holder of the Cascadia Cup, but are also the record champion of the competition—both during the MLS era (three wins), and throughout the pre-MLS era (three trophies). Vancouver’s Cascadia Cup victory last season managed to gloss over what was a poor MLS regular season that ended with the Whitecaps missing the playoffs.
Seattle, in the meantime, managed to repair a poor start to the 2016 MLS season by squeezing into the playoffs, and then moving on to win their first ever MLS Cup. The victory over Toronto, in fact, will have more than made up for missing out on lifting the Cascadia Cup at the end of the 2016 MLS regular season.
The game on Friday will be the first Cascadia Cup game of the season, and will also be the first time Seattle travels to Vancouver as the MLS champion. Despite being the champion, however, Seattle had a lacklustre start to the 2017 MLS season. The club has collected one victory on matchday three against the New York Red Bulls, has drawn three times against Montreal, Atlanta, and San Jose, and lost once against Houston on matchday one.
Vancouver, in the meantime, has had a poor start to the season. Some of this could be due to the fact that the club had to focus on the CONCACAF Champions League during the first five matchdays of the MLS. The club eliminated New York Red Bulls in the quarterfinal, and then were soundly beaten by Mexican giants Tigres UANL in the semi-final of the competition.
The extra matches in the CONCACAF were used somewhat to explain their poor performances in the league. Following their midweek defeat to Tigres, Vancouver were buried in the snow by Real Salt Lake City in a game that was anything but ordinary.
The heavy snowfall in Utah was, of course, a major factor in the defeat, as was the traveling involved with participating in the Champions League, but Real had not won a game all season going into this match, and also had to deal with the conditions. Hence, with Vancouver now out of the Champions League, the Whitecaps and head coach, Carl Robinson, in particular, will have to deliver especially as the Whitecaps are now the only show in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s biggest team, the hockey club, Canucks, failed to make the playoffs, which means that the Whitecaps will have the undivided attention of fans and media. For the Whitecaps, that is a major opportunity to make a big mark on their market and the best time to make an impression is with a Cascadia Derby victory on Friday night.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders – Players to look out for:
Fredy Montero #12 – Vancouver Whitecaps
This will be a special game for Vancouver’s Fredy Montero. The Colombian forward played for Seattle between 2011 and 2014, and is the Sounders all time top scorer. After stints in Colombia, Portugal, and China, Montero joined the Whitecaps this winter. The Colombian has only scored once this season, in Vancouver’s 4-2 victory over Los Angeles Galaxy but is, without a doubt, a difference maker when he is on the field. Influential both on and off the ball, Montero can play both up front as a natural striker, and also behind a number nine in the trequartista role.
Nicolás Lodeiro #10 – Seattle Sounders
Nicolás Lodeiro, together with Toronto’s Sebastian Giovinco, is perhaps the technically most gifted player in Major League Soccer. Signed from Boca Juniors in the summer of 2016, Lodeiro was a major reason for Seattle’s transformation from a club likely to be missing the playoffs to one that may win the championship. A Uruguayan national team player, Lodeiro is an attacking midfielder who likes to play off a natural striker. Lodeiro managed four goals and five assists in 13 games last season, and then added another four goals in the MLS Cup Playoffs. This year he has already scored two goals and one assist in five games.
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders – Match Stats
- The Sounders are 7-6-4 against Vancouver in Major League Soccer.
- Seattle went 2-1-0 against Vancouver last season, falling 2-1 at home in March before a 1-0 home win in September, and a 2-1 road victory in October.
- Vancouver are the current Cascadia Cup champions, having won the tournament thanks only to their positive goal differential.
Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders 2-1
Ousted – Parker, Dean, Waston – De Jong, Teibert, Tchani, Laba, Nerwinski – Montero, Mezquida
Coach: Carl Robinson
Frei – Jones, Marshall, Torres, Fisher – Alonso, Dempsey, Roldán – Shipp, Morris, Lodeiro
Coach: Brian Schmetzer