Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
June 8, 2013, 7:30 pm PT, CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: NBC Sports; TSN (Canada); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
The Cascadia derby continues on Saturday at CenturyLink Field as Sounders FC hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the first meeting of the season between the decades-long rivals. In a derby that goes back to 1974 when the two clubs first met in the North American Soccer League, the Sounders and Whitecaps will meet for the 130th time in the nationally televised match.
Aside from the history, it is also two teams salty from recent disappointments in domestic cup competitions that are looking to climb the ranks in the Western Conference as retribution. The Sounders fell in the third round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup last week and the Whitecaps ceded the Voyageur’s Cup for the Canadian Championship to the Montreal Impact on the same night.
“They put a lot of their mental effort into the Voyaguers Cup in Canada and I’m sure they were disappointed when that didn’t happen, like we were when we got knocked out of the Open Cup,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Now their attention and their focus is on MLS so they’re going to be a team that’s very motivated this weekend.”
The match will pit two of the league’s most prolific scorers against each other as Obafemi Martins and Kenny Miller have been on a rampant pace in their limited MLS minutes.
Martins became the fastest player in Sounders FC history to reach four goals when he notched his fourth against Chivas USA last week while playing just 366 minutes. Miller has three goals himself in just 303 minutes for the Whitecaps.
Martins was nearly unavailable for the Sounders though as he was shown a red card in a 2-0 win over Chivas USA last week, but the red card was rescinded by an independent panel and the Nigerian striker was made eligible for Saturday.
“Having him on the field is important to our team. He’s a danger,” Schmid said. “As a defender, he’s not a guy you want to play against.”
For Vancouver, Miller plays in a group of speedy forwards that has helped them to 16 goals in 12 matches this season. And while Darren Mattocks will be out while playing with the Jamaican National Team, Camilo Sanvezzo has shown a propensity for causing havoc for opposing defenses. He has three goals and one assist this year for Vancouver, giving him 20 goals and 11 assists in 71 career MLS matches.
“They have some quick guys. That’s something we have to be weary of,” said Sounders FC defender Zach Scott, noting that Seattle’s own offense might be the perfect counter to Vancouver’s attack. “We recognize where they are dangerous and we’re confident that we can shut them down. I think our offense is really what they need to be worried about.”