Three Key Match-ups: vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Servando Carrasco will be tested again as English veteran Nigel Reo-Coker will be patrolling the midfield for Vancouver.

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)

On Saturday night at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC meet for the first of three times this season and 130th time overall dating back to the North American Soccer League in 1974.

Over the course of the decades, there have been many classic on-field matchups and Saturday’s match looks to be no different. Here are some matchups to look for between the two clubs.

Mauro Rosales vs. Jordan Harvey

The veteran Sounders FC setup man Rosales meets the journeyman Vancouver leftback Harvey. Rosales has rounded into the form that had him earn 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year honors and followed it up by equaling his club record with 13 assists in 2012. Now this season he leads the Sounders with three assists and has looked every bit the part as Seattle captain, leading the offense with his veteran savvy and deft ball skills. On the other side of the ball, Harvey is on his third MLS club since coming to the league in 2006. His first professional matches came on loan to the Sounders in the USL in 2006 where he played 12 matches in the 2006 season. Now in his third season with the Whitecaps, Harvey has worked his way back into the starting lineup and scored in last week’s win over the New York Red Bulls. He has garnered the confidence of the coaching staff enough that they traded Alain Rochat on Thursday, leaving the starting role for Harvey.

Nigel Reo-Coker vs. Servando Carrasco

The middle of the midfield will be a place where the match can be won or lost for either side. With Vancouver’s 4-3-3 formation, they will constantly have bodies in the middle of the field and that’s where Reo-Coker fits best. The 29-year-old former West Ham United and Aston Villa midfielder came to Vancouver this year with loads of experience in England’s top leagues and he will use that experience against Carrasco, a third-year midfielder who has found his home in the starting lineup for the Sounders over the last six matches. Both players have bite in the midfield too, and staying out of the referee’s book can also be important to both sides.

Vancouver vs. History

The crowd will be rocking at CenturyLink Field, with over 50,000 expected in attendance for the match. That has been a good omen for the Sounders in the past, as they have gone unbeaten at 6-0-2 in eight matches in which the crowd has exceeded 40,000. At the same time, the Whitecaps are still winless against Cascadia opponents in the three years in MLS, going 0-2-3 against the Sounders and 0-4-2 against the Portland Timbers.

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