Vancouver Whitecaps FC (12th in West, 2-6-1) vs Seattle Sounders (1st in West, 7-0-3)
Location: Lumen Field, Seattle
Date and Time: June 26th, 9:00 pm EST, 6:00 pm PST
Watching: TSN (in Canada) & MLS Live on ESPN+ (in US)
What to expect
The Cascadian rivals clashing this weekend find themselves on opposite ends of the sporting spectrum. The Vancouver Whitecaps have just equaled their MLS-record loss streak mid-week versus the LA Galaxy and have struggled to score more than 8 goals in ten games this season. Turmoil reigns supreme around the ground and throughout the fanbase as many Whitecaps faithful are putting all aspects of the team under scrutiny. With a bolstered roster and a full season for the coach to apply his tactics, the only possible thing holding the Whitecaps back could have been the lack of home games, yet more than that seems to have gone awry.
Seattle, although they have been playing at home, have been without key players Jordan Morris due to a loan to Swansea City (And later an unfortunate ACL Tear), Stefan Frei due to injury, and talisman Nico Lodeiro also nursing himself back to health. These three absences along with the losses of defenders Kevin Leerdam and Joevin Jones before the season began should have been a recipe for disaster for the Emerald City soccer team as the team constantly adjusted its lineup to make up for the losses. Yet, it has seemingly worked out in their favour, with them being the only unbeaten outfit left in Major League Soccer.
The other top scorer in MLS, Raul Ruidiaz, is sitting with the same amount of goals that the Whitecaps currently have, and looks to be more in form than his Mexican LA Galaxy counterpart. While the pint-sized Peruvian may prove a gigantic threat for the Whitecaps defense, the opposite end won’t be a pushover either- as Seattle has only conceded five goals in their ten games played, contributing to being the tightest back line in the league.
It may look bleak for the Whitecaps, considering where they find themselves, but they can take solace in the fact that Seattle seemed to stutter a bit in their victory against Real Salt Lake. Their usually sharp attack seemed to be off their game, missing easy shots and showing signs of overthinking their attacks, rescuing the three points through a penalty from Raul Ruidiaz. If Seattle lies into this complacency and the Whitecaps are able to capitalize and provide a quick counter- crashing the only unbeaten team’s party through a well planned effort.
Whether the morale is there on the field, only the players know, as it appears to be at an all time low across the board. But maybe- just maybe, there is a light at the end of the dark 2021 season tunnel in the form of a certain rumoured Scottish DP. If anything, the acquisition of a potential number 10 shows that steps are being taken in the direction that Whitecaps fans have been clamoring for. With the team in its current state though, I don’t think I can predict anything other than a 2-0 loss for Vancouver.
Eighty Six Forever Staff Picks:
Caleb: 2-1 SEA
Ian: 3-0 SEA
Andrew: 2-1 SEA
Sam: 3-0 SEA