Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders | MLS Match Preview

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS
BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
July 5, 2014 (WEEK 17, MLS Game #157) 7 p.m. PT (TSN2/RDS2; JOEtv/ROOT-NW Alt/KOMO)

The Cascadia Cup is again at center stage when Vancouver Whitecaps FC play host to Seattle Sounders FC for their second meeting of the season on Saturday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC return home after having their MLS club-record undefeated streak put to an end in a 2-0 loss at the Colorado Rapids last weekend. Sounders FC extended their most recent winning streak to three games last weekend, with a 1-0 win at D.C. United in a top-of-the-table clash between the two conference leaders.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Frank Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Drew Fischer
Toledo MLS Career: 174 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 61; pens: 65

SUSPENDED: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso (caution accumulation; through July 6), Gonzalo Pineda (caution accumulation; through July 6)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: None
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: VAN: Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba, Andy OíBrien, Pedro Morales
DISABLED LIST: SEA: Damion Lowe; Kevin Parsemain
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 15 goals ... Sounders FC 3 wins, 15 goals ... Ties 4
AT VANCOUVER (5 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 wins, 7 goals ... Sounders FC 1 wins, 7 goals ... Ties 3
FUTURE MATCH: 10/10: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7 p.m. PT

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Gonzalo Pineda converted a late penalty kick to bring Sounders FC back for a 2-2 draw, May 24 at BC Place.
  • After going the first six meetings between the clubs in MLS play winless, Vancouver Whitecaps FC won two straight games vs. their Cascadia rivals, before the teams played to the draw in the first meeting this season.
  • The clubs have a rivalry dating back to 1974 in the old North American Soccer League, and continuing through the A-League and USL First Division.
  • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v VAN: P9 W3 L2 T4 ... Carl Robinson vs. SEA: P1 W0 L0 T1

LAST MEETING (MLS)
5/24: VAN 2, SEA 2 (Hurtado 39; Koffie 66 ñ Barrett 36; Pineda 82)

  • Sounders FC took the lead in the 36th minute, as Chad Barrett got on the end of Kenny Cooper cross, easily outjumping a defender to power a header home from 12 yards out.
  • But Vancouver hit back three minutes later when Erik Hurtado started and finished off a neat three-man passing move by weaving his way into the box, leaving two Seattle defenders on the deck before firing high into the roof of the net to tie the score at 1-1.
  • Whitecaps FC took the lead in the 66th minute when goalkeeper Stefan Frei tried to prevent a corner but instead cleared the ball upfield straight to Gershon Koffie, who chested it down before lobbing the ball home from 35 yards into the empty net.
  • But Seattle grabbed a share of the points with eight minutes remaining when referee Ismail Elfath pointed to the spot after ruling a foul by Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit in the box, and Gonzalo Pineda hit home from the penalty spot for the equalizer.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Matias Laba - Sebastian Fernandez (Nicolas Mezquida 71), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Russell Teibert 79) - Erik Hurtado.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Jalil Anibaba, Zach Scott, Djimi Traore (Brad Evans 56), Leo Gonzalez - Chad Barrett (Cam Weaver 79), Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa - Kenny Cooper (Michael Azira 71), Obafemi Martins.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
Vancouver Whitecaps FC had their club-record undefeated run come to an end after eight games, falling 2-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dickís Sporting Goods Park. Whitecaps FC sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 15 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took the lead in the 20th minute. Using a turn to create space for himself in the box, Dillon Powers unleashed a low blast that found just enough space to squeeze past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted and the left-hand post.
  • A quarter of an hour later, Vancouver fullback Nigel Reo-Coker upended Rapids striker Deshorn Brown on the left side of the box, and referee Ted Unkel pointed to the spot. Vicente Sanchez converted the penalty, firing home to give the home side a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute.
  • Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin was asked to make just a single save for the shutout, turning aside a deflected 83rd-minute shot by Whitecaps center back Johnny Leveron.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with the Montreal Impact at BC Place. Nigel Reo-Coker came into the back four for Andy O'Brien, and Russell Teibert, Nicolas Mezquida and Sebastian Fernandez came into the midfield in place of Gershon Koffie, Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): David Ousted - Nigel Reo-Coker, Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey - Russell Teibert, Matias Laba (Mehdi Ballouchy 70) - Nicolas Mezquida (Darren Mattocks 46), Sebastian Fernandez (Gershon Koffie 46), Pedro Morales - Erik Hurtado.

TEAM NEWS

  • Whitecaps FC saw their undefeated streak in league play come to an end after eight matches, the longest in the clubís MLS history, surpassing the six-game stretch without a loss last June 15-July 14.
  • "It was a tough day for a lot of the players," Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said. "The first half, we didn't help ourselves by giving two sloppy goals away. When it goes to 2-0 it's hard. We have managed to get back before. We were better in the second half, but we probably didn't deserve to get anything out of the game."
  • Whitecaps FC were also held without a goal for a second consecutive game, the first time this season they've been blanked in back-to-back league games -- coming on the heels of a three-game stretch where they scored nine goals.
  • "No team is going to come and let us play," Robinson said. ìWeíve done very well in the first few games, so they're not going to let you play. They're going to analyze our strengths and analyze our weaknesses and cause us a problem. Over the last few days two teams have come in and managed to cause us a problem, and we've not been good enough to unlock their defense. That's something we need to review and look at."
  • Whitecaps FC were limited to just one shot on target in the loss in Colorado. "I don't think Erik Hurtado has had one shot on goal in the last two games, so we need to review that and analyze that," Robinson said. "It's not just about Erik, it's about the team. But if there's no spaces in behind, we need to be able to unlock defenses from in front of them."
  • Andy O'Brien missed a league match for the first time this season. Carlyle Mitchell made his second consecutive first-team start, his only two of the season, shifting inside to central defense after playing at right back in the Montreal match.
  • Sebastian Fernandez made his first league start in three games, but came off at the halftime interval in place of Gershon Koffie, who was held out of the starting lineup in a league game for the first time since March 22.
  • "I don't really think that we were truly outperformed. We gave away two poor goals and they didnít really create too many chances. I don't think they dominated possession in our half at all. We had good possession," defender Nigel Reo-Coker said. "I think the one thing that we can be disappointed about is that we gave the ball away too easily in certain areas. ... You're going to get games like that in the season. For us this is the first real bad patch of bad ones. At least three games so far, 15 games into the season, is still a great place to be.
  • Mehdi Ballouchy made his first appearance of the season after offseason knee surgery, coming on for the final 20 minutes.
  • "It's been a long time. When you [tear] your ACL and come back, and then [re-tear] it again, and these are long-term injuries. A lot of players don't really come back from those. Sometimes it's mental and sometimes itís physical," said Ballouchy. "For me itís been a steep, steep hill, and Iím finally at the top and Iím playing. Iím happy that Iím playing but Iím disappointed that we lost."

SEATTLE SOUNDERS
Seattle Sounders FC won their third consecutive game and extended their undefeated run to five matches, defeating D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. Sounders FC are in first place in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table with 35 points from 16 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came on 39 minutes. Following a partially cleared corner, Sounders FC midfielder Gonzalo Pineda found himself with time and space on the right flank. He took a touch and drove a bending ball into the box where Chad Barrett rose to meet it, heading it home from the edge of the 6-yard box.
  • Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei was credited with two saves for the shutout, though he did see a full-blooded volley from Chris Rolfe crash off the woodwork midway through the first half.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made one change to the team that defeated the Chicago Fire 3-2 at Toyota Park. Kenny Cooper came into the team for the suspended Obafemi Martins.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Stefan Frei - Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Jalil Anibaba, Leo Gonzalez - Lamar Neagle (David Estrada 85), Gonzalo Pineda, Osvaldo Alonso, Marco Pappa (Aaron Kovar 72) - Kenny Cooper, Chad Barrett (Micheal Azira 58).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC have put together a three-game winning streak or longer for a second time this season, the only team in MLS to have done that.
  • "I thought we were solid," Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. "We played 120 minutes on Tuesday [a penalty shootout win over the San Jose Earthquakes in the U.S. Open Cup], and I thought our performance was one of those where we bent a little bit but we didnít break. I thought our defense held together well."
  • Chad Barrett scored his fourth goal of the season, his third in the last four matches, which have all come in a starting role with Clint Dempsey away with the U.S. national team.
  • "I feel like Iím doing something productive for the team. That's pretty much all I was trying to do. I wasn't trying to replace Clint [Dempsey] I was just trying to fill a void," Barrett said. "Sigi gave me the opportunity and Iíve had some great service and teammates have really helped out along the way. I'm happy to put the goals in for them."
  • With Obafemi Martins suspended after being sent off at Chicago, Kenny Cooper returned to the starting lineup for the first time in three matches.
  • "That was our objective at the start of the season. What we really wanted to do was improve our depth up front. We knew there was going to be a period in time where we were going to miss Dempsey," said Schmid. "By bringing in Kenny Cooper and bringing in Chad Barrett, we wanted to push Lamar Neagle back wide, which gave us the depth up front."
  • Sounders FC also recorded a third shutout in the last five games at the defensive end, after going eight consecutive league games without a clean sheet.
  • "I feel like our defense is really coming around," Barrett said. "We put out a lot of different lineups at the beginning [of the season]. Now, everybody is getting used to each other, but the big thing is we fight for each other until the very end."
  • Said Schmid: "We needed some fresh legs and I think Zach Scott has played really well. I thought Jalil [Anibaba] played really well. His speed is a good matchup with Eddie [Johnson] so that was good for us as well. We needed some fresh legs in there and he provided that for us. [Osvaldo Alonso] helped us in midfield with his legs but they did a good job packing the midfielder and putting a lot of extra bodies in there."
  • David Estrada and Aaron Kovar both made their first MLS appearances of the season, coming off the substitutes' bench.