VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Flying high with a four-game unbeaten run, the Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping that form finally propels the club to a win over a Cascadia rival after going winless against the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders in the MLS era.
This time the occasion is at BC Place on Saturday (11 pm ET, NBC Sports Network/Live chat on MLSsoccer.com) against the Sounders, in front of what's expected to be the largest home crowd of the season.
“We want to make sure that we keep our run going of good form,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie told reporters after a training session at the University of British Columbia on Friday. “A few weeks ago the club had never beaten LA [Galaxy], we did that. A few weeks ago the club had never beaten New York [Red Bulls], we did that.
“The fact that we’ve not beaten Seattle is not something that concerns me too much. It’s just another game, and we have to make sure we’re at our absolute best.”
The return of Lee Young-Pyo to the right fullback position will give the 'Caps a boost after the team left the former South Korean international behind to rest for the club’s two-game Eastern Conference road swing against D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City.
The 36 year old’s return to the backline also means that Nigel Reo-Coker, who deputized there over those two matches, looks set to return to central midfield.
“That helps a lot,” Rennie said. “Y.P. has certainly been one of our best performers throughout the season, especially at home. He’s fresh coming in now which is important, and Nigel does bring a different dimension in midfield for our team.
“He can drive forward, he’s a very good communicator, and makes a big difference -- in any position he does well.”
After a strong showing in Kansas, it looks as though Brad Rusin and Johnny Leveron will remain the central defensive pairing, with the Whitecaps still unsure whether or not Andy O’Brien’s hamstring is fully healed.
“He is available,” Rennie said of O’Brien. “But we haven’t decided on that yet. Obviously Brad and Leveron did really well in the last game, so we probably won’t rush Andy. There’s a fair chance we’ll just give him a rest.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.