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Know the Enemy - Sounders Round II

With another Cascadia derby on tap for Saturday evening, we checked in with Sounder at Heart to get the lowdown on the state of affairs for our green neighbours to the South.

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

With a side built to grind out a result, the Vancouver Whitecaps head south, down I-5 for another quick turnaround to take on the Seattle Sounders and their resurfaced CenturyLink Field. The Sounders boast an impressively poor record of 0-4-1 over their past 5, while of course the Whitecaps are riding an outstanding run of six undefeated matches.

Here’s what the folks at Sounder at Heart thought about Seattle’s form, their current list of absentees courtesy of MLS’ refusal to acknowledge the schedule of FIFA’s major associations and how those pesky green jersey’s lead by Brian Schmetzer might try to reverse their own poor fortune tomorrow evening.

Seattle’s had a tough run of fixtures, four losses and a draw over the past 5 including the US Open Cup, certainly doesn’t make for pretty reading. How much of this was attributed to all the away fixtures over the last 6 weeks?

The form before the Copa America/Gold Cup break for the Sounders could not have been worse. I mean, I guess it could’ve literally been 1 point worse, but you know what I’m saying. I think the biggest factor that plagued the Sounders over that stretch was the injures and absences that the team faced, but that’s by no means an excuse. Two of those fixtures were easily winnable, SKC and MTL, but the Sounders still lost. On the other hand, there was probably not a better time for a run like that to happen. I expect the Sounders to respond well in the second half of the season.

With the likes of Jordan Morris, Nicolas Lodeiro, Raul Ruidiaz, Cristian Roldan and more away, how is Seattle filling the gaps with the current list of absentees and is there a player getting a chance or one in particular to watch while the squad is depleted?

Despite the 3 week break for the Sounders, they’re still not at full strength. A lot of the international team players are still gone, and during the break they suffered a huge loss with Will Bruin picking up a season ending ACL injury. Very few teams in this league have as reliable backup striker as the Sounders have (had?) in Will Bruin, so it’s a huge loss. I expect Justin Dhillon to be signed from the Tacoma Defiance. He’ll be okay until the Sounders get Ruidiaz back.

Aside from that obvious weakness, the Sounders are actually in pretty good shape. They’ll have pretty much their first choice back 7, aside from Roldan.

Last time around, this fixture played out as a 0-0 at BC Place, how do you expect Brian Schmetzer to line-up to try and break down the ‘Caps?

That first meeting between the ‘Caps and Sounders was a very weird game. The Sounders should’ve played more aggressive, but they didn’t. I expect the Sounders to try to control the tempo more in this matchup, especially since it’s the first home game for the team in almost two months. There’s also the added bonus of Vancouver having played midweek in Dallas. I expect a comfortable win despite the less than first choice starting XI for Seattle.

Comfortable win, or settle in for a grind it out evening of derby football? Either way, the flexibility of Marc Dos Santos’ team will be tested once again as the ‘Caps cope with their own list of extended absentees.

For more coverage and content, be sure to get your predictions in for our Guess the Starting XI contest and check out our Match Preview, written by the outstanding AtlantisB.