Hold on tight, it’s another Cascadia derby. This time the Sounders come to town for their final appearance at BC Place this regular season. Vancouver returns to the pitch after only three days since their defeat of the Houston Dynamo. The ‘Caps are on a decent run of form with four wins, 2 losses and a draw in their last seven games. Most of those games were on the road, however, they have won six of their last nine home matches. Vancouver’s last home match against Seattle featured a brace from Fredy Montero as he handed it to his old team for the win.
Seattle comes to town on an even better run. They have six wins and a draw in their last seven and have won three straight. Their second three game streak of the season (they have yet to win four in a row - advantage Vancouver?). Their winning form has recently put them in a tie for first in the conference after their traditional slow start. It has been an up and down season for them and currently Dempsey is up with four goals in his last three games. Fortunately for the ‘Caps, standout RB, Joevin Jones will miss this game due to an early departure for national team duty. The Sounders are also coming off only two days rest after their win against Minnesota at Century Link Field. They play the Timbers four days later in another heated derby match. Do they save some first choice starters on Wednesday with an eye to the game on Sunday?
What line up Robbo sends out on the pitch will be interesting to see considering Wednesday’s match is immediately followed by a long trip to Orlando. Does he return with the same 11 he dressed in Saturday’s win and send a somewhat second choice squad to Orlando? Can he afford to gamble with the game in Florida like that? Or, can he afford to play anything less than his best line up against Cascadia and western conference rival Seattle? The ‘Caps are only six points back of Seattle in the standings with two games in hand. This game will have the greater impact in their push for the playoffs, and perhaps, Robbo can be forgiven for putting all his eggs in Wednesday’s starter basket. Besides, nothing bites more than losing to the Sounders at home.
After another strong game, I think we see Reyna return to the line up. Tchani seems to be a staple with the two CB’s of Waston and Parker, and it would be a shame not to see if Montero can put another couple goals past his old team. A better question is whether we see Bolaños and Techera return on the wings. Neither played their best games against Houston and Ibini has shown well recently, while Shea should be well rested as he did not appear last game. Finally, an unlikely wildcard lies in the debut of Aly Gazahl. Is he ready to dive into the fire of this derby with so many playoff implications, or does Robbo ‘ease’ him into the team in Orlando? Oh, and Russell Teibert has so often been the thorn in Dempsey’s side, just sayin’.
Playoffs aside this is also a Cascadia cup match. Currently Portland holds the lead on both teams with an extra game played.
Just who is on the pitch to start the match is anyone’s guess, but with so much on the line it will be a fierce contest, regardless. Not the least of which is pride at home against a bitter rival.