Not long ago, Seattle held a USL soccer franchise that was vying for an MLS spot. Today they have one, but they will be facing a team that is in a similar situation when they square off with a longtime foe from the northwest in the Vancouver Whitecaps in a closed-door scrimmage Sunday at Qwest Field.
Vancouver is in the running for the league’s next expansion, following the addition of Philadelphia next season, along with Portland, St. Louis and Miami.
Their roster this year is formidable. Coming off of a USL First Division championship last year, the Whitecaps return much of their lineup, but have also added depth at each position.
They have added the likes of St. Vincent and Grenadines captain Marlon James and 20-year-old Vancouver-native Marcus Haber at forward, former Miami FC midfielder Ansu Toure and a slew of defenders to compliment mainstays Wesley Charles, Lyle Martin and Martin Nash.
The rivalry between the two clubs dates back to the North American Soccer League and Seattle holds a 54-42-15 edge over their rivals to the north.
After Sunday’s game the Sounders FC will leave Tuesday for a trip to Argentina that will include three friendlies over six days before they return to Seattle for the conclusion of training camp the following week in preparation for their season-opener March 19 against the New York Red Bulls at Qwest Field.