Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini said the Paraguayan international won’t start but will be an option off the bench.
More importantly, Sartini said, is getting the defensive midfielder integrated with his new teammates, which this trip, albeit a short one, provides.
“He played two games with his national team last week, but before that he was like a month off and he had a long flight, so you know, as usual, he's a little tired,” Sartini told reporters Monday after training. "He’s getting adapted, but it's important that he makes the trip with us. We don’t know if he’s going to play a little or not, but he's going to put himself in the group and understand what MLS is so it’s going to be an important trip for him, for sure.”
The 26-year-old was signed by Vancouver from French club Nimes in late April to a four-year Designated Player contract. Before playing in Ligue 2, he was at Talleres, Defensa y Justicia and Boca Juniors across Argentina.
“We know he’s a very good player, he’s good technically and he's very good at winning the ball back, so those are all qualities that will be important to improve our team and to improve our midfield,” Sartini said. "He's looking good. Again, we need to work with him and hopefully he's going to be at top condition very soon.”
While the Whitecaps have played during the June international window – defeating Real Salt Lake, 2-1, on June 4 at BC Place, their third win in their last four games – the Sounders have been idle since a 2-1 victory over Charlotte FC at Lumen Field on May 29.
“How do we want to start? Well, we want to start with any kind of win,” Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer said. "Vancouver’s been on a good run of form, three out of four, we’ve got to knock the rust off the tires. It’s going to be interesting to see how the team comes out and performs. We’re missing some guys. We're hopeful. I think the training's been okay, but let’s just see how the game manifests itself.”
Both teams enter this rivalry tilt below the Western Conference's Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line, separated by one point.
“The Sounders are a big team, but I would say we are in a good moment lately and I hope three or four days off mentally recharged everyone,” Sartini said. "The atmosphere at training was pretty good. We’re confident we're going to do a good performance. We’ll see, it’s going to be really hard, but I think we’re going to do our part.”