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Preview: Sounders, Whitecaps christen new MLS rivalry

The next installment of the Cascadia Cup kicks off Saturday when Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC renew their long-held acquaintances at Qwest Field. The teams first met in 1974 in the North American Soccer League, but are meeting for the first time in MLS. Sounders FC return from a two-game unbeaten road trip, last playing to a 0-0 draw at Chicago. Vancouver are looking for a first win since First Kick, their last match a 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake.


REFEREE: Mark Geiger. SAR (bench): Eric Boria; JAR (opposite): Steven Taylor; 4th: Ismail Elfath MLS Career: 82 games; FC/gm: 26.5; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 15; pens: 28

INJURY REPORT: SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF Alvaro Fernandez (hamstring strain) …
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: MF Philippe Davies (L ankle sprain); FW Atiba Harris (R knee surgery); GK Brian Sylvestre (R adductor strain); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jonathan Leathers (R calf contusion)

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, James Riley … VAN: Terry Dunfield

ALL-TIME (MLS): First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 9/24: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 7:30 p.m. PT (TSN)
•    It’s the first MLS meeting between Seattle and Vancouver, who have a rivalry dating back to 1974 in the old North American Soccer League, and continuing through the A-League and USL First Division.
•    It’s the second match of the Cascadia Cup, the Pacific Northwest rivalry formed by the three clubs in the Pacific Northwest (also Portland Timbers).
•    Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. VAN: first game … Tom Soehn v SEA: P2 W1 L1 D0

Seattle Sounders FC concluded their two-game road trip unbeaten, playing to a scoreless draw with the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. Sounders FC have 21 points from 15 games on the season, sitting in third place in the Western Conference.

•    The goalkeepers, Sean Johnson for Chicago and Kasey Keller for Seattle, were the heroes on the night. Keller made five saves on the night, most in the opening 45 minutes, including a couple of long-range efforts by Daniel Paladini.
•    Johnson made three saves for the game, two coming in a quick sequence early on, denying Sounders FC striker Lamar Neagle on both occasions.
•    Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado came in for Patrick Ianni at center back, and Mauro Rosales and Lamar Neagle came into the midfield for Erik Friberg and Alvaro Fernandez.
•    SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Kasey Keller - James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl - Mauro Rosales (Roger Levesque 67), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle - Mike Fucito (Servando Carrasco 81), Nate Jaqua (Fredy Montero 54).

•    After going 10 consecutive games in scoring a goal after opening the season with back-to-back attacking shutouts, Sounders FC have now been blanked on the offensive end in two of the last three games.
•    "We talked about being able to match their intensity at the beginning of the game and I think we did that,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “If we could have snagged a goal (early in the game) it would have changed things. But after that they put us on our heels a little bit."
•    Alvaro Fernandez missed his first match since April 22, not making the trip to Chicago because of a hamstring strain.
•    Osvaldo Alonso once again featured in the center of midfield; he and goalkeeper Kasey Keller are the only Sounders FC players to have played all 1,350 minutes of this season.
•    “I can’t think of another two or three who are better than him at recovering the ball in midfield,” Schmid said. “He’s a tremendous competitor. He’s a tremendous finder of the ball when you’ve lost the ball. He knows how to close people down. He’s a good tackler, the kind of guy who can tackle without committing fouls. He allows us to be able to recover the ball in the midfield area that a lot of people can’t accomplish.”
•    After scoring his first MLS goal in a stunning strike the week before, Federal Way, Wash. native Lamar Neagle made his first MLS start vs. Chicago.
•    “He’s still a young player. There’s always some ups and downs,” Schmid said. “He had two good chances early on -- I’m sure he’d like to have that header back for sure … but he got through it and picked up steam again towards the end. I think he rose in confidence.”
•    The Seattle-Vancouver rivalry dates back to 1974 in the old North American Soccer League, continuing through the A-League and USL First Division. Through 122 total matches — the most between any two cities in that span — the Sounders have a 58-45-19 edge.
•    "It's just not the same (with Vancouver), but it's going to be a great rivalry," said Keller. "In the different places I've played around the world ... you have all those rivalries, but there's always one that's your main one. I think that's what you find with Vancouver and us. Yeah, that's a big game, but the Portland game is the main derby game."

Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their MLS winless run extended to a record 13 games, falling 2-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Whitecaps FC have 10 points from 14 matches, sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference.

•    Real took the lead after 32 minutes. Kyle Beckerman threaded a pass to Jean Alexandre, just beating the offside trap, and the Haitian held off a couple of defenders before cutting toward goal and lifting a shot over Whitecaps FC 'keeper Joe Cannon
•    Then in the 79th minute, Alexandre evaded a midfield challenge and flicked it into space for Fabian Espíndola, who raced onto the pass then finished clinically from inside the area, putting a low shot into the right side of the net.
•    Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn made two changes to the team that reached a 1-1 result with Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Peter Vagenas came into the midfield for Alexandre Morfaw, and Russell Teibert started in place of the suspended Eric Hassli.
•    VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Bilal Duckett, Jay DeMerit, Mouloud Akloul (Michael Nanchoff 74), Alain Rochat - Shea Salinas, Gershon Koffie, Peter Vagenas (Alexandre Morfaw 46), Russell Teibert (Omar Salgado 46) - Davide Chiumiento, Camilo.

•    Whitecaps FC saw their winless run extended to 13 games in the 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake, and still have not won away from Empire Field in MLS play.
•    Whitecaps FC allowed two goals in a game for the first time since April 30, and lost by multiple goals for just the second time all season (also April 10, 1-3 to Houston).
•    "The errors were phenomenal (against RSL), just uncalled for," said Whitecaps FC head coach Tom Soehn."One of things we did really well on Wednesday was keeping our shape and being defensively organized. That didn't translate to this game. Salt Lake is a better possession team and we let them dictate the terms of the match and really had to chase the ball. It killed us in terms of energy.
•    The winless streak has matched the third-longest overall in MLS history and equaled the longest ever in a single season (also held by Columbus, 2006, and New York, 2009). The league record is 18 games without a victory set by Real Salt Lake from Aug. 10, 2005 to May 6, 2006.
•    "For me, it still comes down to compete level. We had four or five guys competing. That's not enough. You need 11 guys fighting for the same cause and that part's got to be a lot better," Soehn said.
•    Two-time MLS Cup winner Peter Vagenas made his Whitecaps FC debut, starting in the midfield in the weekend loss at Real Salt Lake. He was forced off at halftime, suffering from dizziness.
•    "As terrible as I feel saying that, I was just severely exhausted," said Vagenas to The Province. "Obviously, I haven't played in a while. The team's been travelling and I've been left behind and haven't got much quality training in. I just didn't have anything left in the tank."
•    With Eric Hassli suspended for a third time this season, Soehn partnered the 5-foot-7 Camilo up top with 5-8 Davide Chiumiento. At the break, Soehn brought on 6-foot-4 Omar Salgado, moving Camilo back to a wide midfield role, where he had played for the first time this season against Chivas USA, Soehn’s first game in charge.
•    “It’s been a whirlwind week,” said rookie defender Bilal Duckett. “We’ve just been trying to soak up the tactics and changes, but it’s mostly been said on a white board. We haven’t had a whole lot of time to go through it.”
•    Michael Nanchoff, the club’s second selection in the first round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft (eighth overall, was able to make his professional debut, coming on as a substitute in the 74th minute. Nanchoff had been out with a groin strain.
•    "An unfortunate result, but, for me, I have to focus on the positives,” Nanchoff said. "Getting that professional debut, it's been a long time coming. To step out onto that field finally and feel good about it, it's definitely a great thing for me."

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