Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Seattle Sounders FC 09-25-2011 - Preview

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MLS Regular Season
September 24, 2011
10:30pm EDT
Empire Field
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Preview: 'Caps bid adieu to Empire Field with visit from Seattle

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC will say farewell to Empire Field with a visit from Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders FC when the clubs meet Saturday evening. Whitecaps FC could end the night officially eliminated from MLS Cup Playoffs contention, coming off a 3-0 loss at the LA Galaxy last weekend. Before the game even kicks off, Sounders FC could find their postseason berth secure, depending on other results, after a 3-0 home win vs. D.C. United last weekend.

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REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Corey Rockwell; JAR (opposite): Frank Anderson; 4th: Paul Ward
MLS Career: 122 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 40

INJURY REPORT:
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); GK Brian Sylvestre (L knee surgery); MF Russell Teibert (R toe laceration); QUESTIONABLE: MF John Thorrington (L groin strain); MF Michael Nanchoff (R iliotibial band syndrome)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: GK Terry Boss (concussion); MF Michael Seamon (lateral ankle tendon); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); FW O’Brian White (leg surgery); DOUBTFUL: MF Mauro Rosales (R knee MCL sprain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Erik Friberg (hip flexor strain); DF James Riley (concussion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES:
none

SUSPENDED:
VAN: Alain Rochat (caution accumulation; through Sept. 25)
SEA: Tyson Wahl (caution accumulation; through Sept. 25)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD:
VAN: Jordan Harvey
SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Fredy Montero
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS:
VAN: Michael Boxall, Jeb Brovsky, Jay DeMerit, Eric Hassli, Gershon Koffie, Jonathan Leathers
SEA: Alvaro Fernandez, James Riley, Zach Scott

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (MLS): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Sounders FC 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 1

  • In the first meeting this season, Eric Hassli scored twice for Vancouver – including one of the goals of the season – but Mauro Rosales and Osvaldo Alonso scored late three minutes apart to leave the teams in a 2-2 deadlock on June 11 in Seattle.
  • It’s the third match of the Cascadia Cup, the Pacific Northwest rivalry formed by the three clubs in the Pacific Northwest (also Portland Timbers).
  • Seattle and Vancouver have a rivalry dating back to 1974 in the old North American Soccer League, and continuing through the A-League and USL First Division. The clubs met 122 times before the first meeting in MLS.
  • Coaches' records: Sigi Schmid vs. VAN: P1 W0 L0 D1 … Tom Soehn v SEA: P3 W1 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • 6/11: SEA 2, VAN 2 (Rosales 81; Alonso 84 – Hassli 29 pen, 85)
  • Whitecaps FC broke through first in the 29th minute. Camilo's clever cutback in the left of the area led to a foul from Osvaldo Alonso, and Eric Hassli calmly buried the penalty kick, chipping the ball down the middle.
  • Mauro Rosales pulled Sounders FC level in the 81st minute. A deflected cross from the left fell to Rosales in the area and struck home inside Joe Cannon's left-hand post.
  • Seattle then pulled ahead in the 84th minute. Alonso picked off a pass from Shea Salinas and lashed a leftfooted blast from outside the area into the lower corner.
  • But barely a minute later, Vancouver scored the stunning equalizer. Hassli volleyed a dipping shot from outside the penalty area at the right corner of the box, looping it over Kasey Keller and into the goal off the inside of the far post to salvage a point for the visitors.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Osvaldo Alonso - Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales (Erik Friberg 83), Lamar Neagle (Nate Jaqua 59) - Mike Fucito (Miguel Montano 65), Fredy Montero.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Jay DeMerit, Mouloud Akloul, Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas (Bilal Duckett 90), Gershon Koffie, Jeb Brovsky (Michael Nanchoff 85), Camilo - Davide Chiumiento (Peter Vagenas 74) - Eric Hassli.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC remained winless away from home this season, falling 3-0 to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Whitecaps FC have 22 points from 28 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy broke through in the 40th minute. Robbie Keane took control of the ball on the left side of the penalty area, scampered inside the box and hit a cross to the top of the six-yard box where Mike Magee came onto it and tucked the ball into the back of the net.
  • The lead was doubled in the 64th minute. Bryan Jordan raced unmolested down the right flank unmarked and whipped a ball to the middle of the box towards Keane, who easily headed the ball past Vancouver 'keeper Joe Cannon.
  • LA put the game on ice in the 75th minute when Jordan again created a goal, picking out Magee out inside the box from the right flank and he hit a glancing header that settled just inside the left post.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Jonathan Leathers returned to right back in place of John Thorrington.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-1-1): Joe Cannon - Jonathan Leathers, Alain Rochat, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Shea Salinas, Gershon Koffie (Jeb Brovsky 77), Peter Vagenas, Camilo - Davide Chiumiento (Long Tan 64) - Eric Hassli (Mustapha Jarju 73).

TEAM NEWS

  • It’s the final MLS game scheduled for Empire Field, which has been Whitecaps FC’s home since the start of their inaugural season. Next week’s game vs. Portland will be the first in the newly renovated BC Place in downtown Vancouver.
  • The Seattle visit kicks off a stretch of four consecutive home games for Whitecaps FC.
  • “We have a stretch of home games now, which will be good for us, and hopefully establish a rhythm at home and carry that to our next road game in Dallas. We’re still taking it one game at a time and make sure we are ready for our next home contest,” said Whitecaps FC interim head coach Tom Soehn.
  • Whitecaps FC are looking to keep Sounders FC from lifting the Cascadia Cup, awarded to the winner of the season series between Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. Seattle has 5 points from their first 3 games in the competition; Portland has 4 from 3 games, and Vancouver has 1 from its first two games.
  • “We have some big games against real rivals and we want to be ready for those and continue to push our guys so that we become better and set ourselves to understand what we need moving forward and make sure we know what our mentality is to finish out the year,” Soehn said.
  • After the loss in LA, Whitecaps FC have one away game remaining: Oct. 15 at FC Dallas. Vancouver is still winless away from home (0-11-5); just three teams in MLS history have finished the season without a road victory: the LA Galaxy in 2003 (0-9-6), Real Salt Lake in 2005 (0-14-2) and New York in 2009 (0-13-2).
  • “I don’t think we go in thinking about that. Every game away from home is an opportunity to snap that streak, but I think ultimately for us it’s just about consistency and performances and we haven’t done that all season,” said defender Jay DeMerit. “So, we’re going to have to keep working on that.”
  • Joe Cannon became the 16th player in league history – and just the second goalkeeper – to reach 300 appearances in the loss to LA.
  • With John Thorrington sidelined again with a groin injury, Jonathan Leathers returned to right back to complete the first-choice back four. But Soehn will be forced into a change for the Sounders FC with Alain Rochat suspended for caution accumulation.
  • “Obviously when you lose 3-0 it’s never a positive thing, but you always have to try to take positives away and that’s a fact that we gave four shots on target and three of them went in. But to give four shots to a good team that creates a lot of chances, that has to be a positive,” said De Merit.
  • Whitecaps FC will be eliminated from playoff contention in their expansion season with a loss, or with a tie vs. Seattle and a victory by either New York or Portland.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC returned to their winning ways with a flourish, rolling to a 3-0 victory against D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC have 51 points from 29 games on the season, in second place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Running onto a through ball from midfield from Mauro Rosales, Mike Fucito broke in alone on United goalkeeper Joe Willis and calmly found the left side of the net with his right foot.
  • Seattle got their second goal in first-half stoppage time when Rosales found Álvaro Fernández with a sublime pass through the center of DC’s back line to finish off a nice movement, and Fernandez put his angled shot inside the left post.
  • Rosales put the finishing touches on the victory in the 60th minute. A majestic cross from the right side found Montero in stride. Willis made the initial save, but Fernández was there to put in the rebound from close range.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field. Zach Scott came in at center back for the suspended Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Brad Evans replaced Erik Friberg in midfield.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Tyson Wahl - Osvaldo Alonso - Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans (Amadou Sanyang 82), Alvaro Fernandez - Fredy Montero (Lamar Neagle 78), Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua 68).

TEAM NEWS

  • If Sporting KC and Philadelphia play to a tie on Friday, Sounders FC will be assured of a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs. They will also secure their berth with a single point vs. Vancouver, or if Colorado loses, or Houston ties or loses, or New York and Portland tie.
  • Sounders FC have won nine of their last 13 league games, since mid-June. After the 2-2 draw with Vancouver in the first meeting this season, Seattle had fallen to fourth in the Western Conference; they can clinch a playoff spot this week.
  • Mauro Rosales recorded a pair of assists to give him 10 for the season, surpassing the Sounders FC MLS record of nine set by Fredy Montero last year.
  • But there was a late-game downside: tackled from behind by D.C. United’s Daniel Woolard, Rosales was forced from the field and an MRI examination later showed he had a small tear in the medial collateral ligament in his right knee and will be out 2-4 weeks.
  • "I was very frustrated with this because there was nothing to lose, nothing to win. ... The knee is usually a bad thing. If it's something like an ankle it's no problem, but the knee, I'm really worried about what's going to happen," Rosales said.
  • Fredy Montero added an assist, and has a goal and three assists in his last four league games. He has four goals and four assists in the last eight matches over all competitions.
  • After conceding two goals in each of the last two league games, Sounders FC again kept a clean sheet, their third in the last five in MLS play.
  • “The only thing I can think of if I'm going to be a little bit critical is in the last half-hour of the game when it was 3-nil, I think we could have done a little better job of first-time clearances, not putting ourselves in situations because in a playoff game maybe the goal difference makes a difference," said goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
  • On Tuesday, Sounders FC saw their perfect record in CONCACAF Champions League play come to an end in a 1-0 loss to CS Herediano of Costa Rica at CenturyLink Field. Yosimar Arias scored the game’s lone goal from a free kick in the 25th minute.
  • “I thought we had some chances, we certainly had some chances in the last 30 minutes of the game,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “Overall, not one of our best matches. We're dealing with injuries and a heavy schedule, so we had to make some lineup decisions based on that. At the end of the day, our quality tonight wasn't good enough."
  • Here’s the Sounders FC team: Kasey Keller, Zach Scott (Sammy Ochoa 74), Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Roger Levesque (Fredy Montero 56), Servando Carrasco, Amadou Sanyang (Osvaldo Alonso 56), Lamar Neagle, Nate Jaqua, Pat Noonan.