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Match Preview: Showdown with Cascadia Rival

The Vancouver Whitecaps continue their road trip with a stop in Seattle to take on their Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

After pulling out a 2-2 draw in Frisco, against FC Dallas, the Vancouver Whitecaps travel to Seattle to take on their Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders.

Match Information

When: Saturday, June 29th, 7:00 pm (PST)

Where: Century Link Field, Seattle

How: TSN 1/3, TSN 1040 (Radio), ESPN +

Who’s Available

Both the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Seattle Sounders will be short-handed, thanks to the various international tournaments going on right now. For the Whitecaps, it is mainly their defense which will be suffering as two of their three primary center backs, Henry and Cornelius, are away, as is their keeper Creapeu. The Caps will also be without Russell Teibert as well as Lass Bangoura. Making things more challenging is the injuries to Khmiri and Ardaiz. It was likely expected that Khmiri would cover for Henry, while he was at the Gold Cup, while Ardaiz’ injury means a lack of depth up front.

For Seattle, international call-ups are more of a problem offensively as Morris, Roldan, Lodeiro, and Ruidiaz. Their defense will likely suffer a bit too, as Arreaga and Torres will be missing, although Torres has not featured of late, so it might not be that big of a loss.

Vancouver Whitecaps:

Out: D - Jasser Khmiri (left knee injury), M - David Norman Jr. (right foot injury), F - Joaquin Ardaiz (left hamstring strain), GK - Thomas Hasal (left shoulder sprain)

International Duty: D - Doneil Henry, D - Derek Cornelius, M - Russel Teibert, GK - Maxime Crepeau (Gold Cup), Lass Bangoura (African CON)

Seattle Sounders:

Out: F - Wil Bruin

Quesitonable: D - Kim Kee-hee

International Duty: Jordan Morris (F), Raul Ruidiaz (F), Jordy Delem (M), Nicolas Lodeiro (M), Cristian Roldan (M), Xavier Arreaga (D), Joevin Jones (D), Román Torres (D)

Who’s Worth Watching

Whoever starts at striker for Seattle. With Morris and Ruidiaz away for international callus and backup Wil Bruin getting injured, the Sounders do not have many options up top. According to their roster, their only remaining forward is Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who has a grand total of ZERO MLS minutes in his career. We could end up seeing a lineup similar to that from their Open Cup match (lineup), with Ocampo-Chavez in for Wil Bruin. Who do you think will line-up at forward/striker for Seattle in this one?

Lucas Venuto has been a disappointment for most Whitecaps fans this season, however, he is currently tied for second in scoring, with three goals. His game-tying goal in extra-time against Dallas was excellent.

Of Venuto’s three goals, two have come with him coming off the bench. It might be that his best ‘position’ is as a substitute. Yet, Marc Dos Santos doesn’t really have that luxury right now, as his other options at wing are not much better. It is possible that we see Venuto start against Seattle or that MDS elects to go with a five-man back-line again and we see a front two of Reyna and Montero. What do you expect to see? Does Venuto start?

Who’s Going to Win

The Seattle Sounder should be well rested as they last played an MLS match on June 5th, a 2-1 loss to Montreal Impact. Although, they did play an Open Cup match against Portland Timbers on June 12th, which they also lost.

Meanwhile, the Vancouver Whitecaps traveled directly from Dallas for this match, after playing 90 minutes in 27-30+ degree weather. In addition, they have shown strong resiliency in their previous two matches, being down 2-0 in both only to claw back for a draw. This has led to them being unbeaten in six, albeit with five draws during that span.

The Vancouver Whitecaps certainly have a chance to come away with a win or draw in this one with Seattle Sounders in such poor form of late. The key question will be which will perform better (or worse): the patchwork defense for the Whitecaps or the patchwork offense for the Sounders.

What are your expectations for this match? Don’t forget to make your predictions in our Starting XI and Final Score contest!