Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC lock horns in a Cascadia rivalry match for the first time this season when they meet Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are coming off a road win at Chivas USA 2-0, re-firing a depleted Seattle team after their heavy defeat to Los Angeles the week before. Whitecaps FC captured their first road win of the season, winning 2-1 against New York at Red Bull Arena.
In 5 matches between the sides in the league, Seattle have come out on top with 2 wins, 3 draws and 9 goals from said matches to speak for, leaving the Rave Green’s undefeated in league play against their Cascadia rivals, thus far.
The Sounders got a huge boost this week, as an appeal against the red card suffered by Obafemi Martins against Chivas USA was upheld. This means that the speedy Nigerian will be available to play tonight against the Whitecaps. Martins has had an amazing debut to Major League Soccer, scoring four times in seven appearances thus far and acting as a catalyst to the Sounders attack.
After his stoppage time heroics for the U.S. Men’s national team, the Seattle faithful will welcome home Brad Evans today. Though Evans will not be available to play in the match, his performance in a vital match against Jamaica in World Cup qualifying will surely spur on his teammates to win this match-up.
Along with Evans missing this match, Seattle will be quite depleted, despite Martins’ suspension being overturned. Seattle will have to make do without Shalrie Joseph in the middle of the park, due to a rash challenge and a failed suspension appeal. Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson will be obvious absences, but another big absence will be Osvaldo Alonso, arguable known as the heart of the Seattle squad. In the last two matches, Alonso has had a few injury issues, missing the Galaxy game completely with a strained abductor and then coming off after just 21 minutes against Chivas with a right quadriceps injury.
Projected Sounders Lineup: Gspurning; Yedlin, Traore, Hurtado, Gonzalez; Rosales, Carrasco, Rose, Martinez; Neagle, Martins.
The Whitecaps decided to trade away their starting left back, Alain Rochat, to DC United this past Thursday, in exchange for two MLS Superdraft picks. This, in turn, leads to Jordan Harvey getting the start for the second game in a row. Harvey scored the game-tying goal against New York last week, so his influence on the game will be more than welcomed by the traveling ‘Caps fans.
Nigel Reo-Coker returns to side this week after missing the match against New York through suspension, which will help the chances of an on-again, off-again Vancouver side that’s struggling to find its feet.
Projected Whitecaps Lineup: Knighton; Lee, O’Brien, Leveron, Harvey; Reo-Coker, Davidson, Kobayashi; Teibert, Miller, Camilo.