Sounders FC @ Whitecaps FC
July 6, 2013, 8 pm PT; BC Place in Vancouver, B.C.
TV/Radio: NBC Sports; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
Sounders FC will get just what they need after a light June schedule and a momentum-building 2-0 win over D.C. United on Wednesday – a heated rivalry match just a short drive away in Vancouver.
There, they meet a red-hot Whitecaps FC side that has lost just once since May 4. That defeat, however, came in a 3-2 comeback win for Seattle at CenturyLink Field last month.
The short turnaround is no concern for Sigi Schmid, though, as the head coach knows his team hasn’t had any trouble getting ready for derby matches this season.
“They are rivalry games and the teams are always going to be up for it,” Schmid said.
Seattle leads the Cascadia Cup standings at 1-0-1, drawing 1-1 with the Portland Timbers in addition to their victory over Vancouver. Forward Eddie Johnson watched the match against Vancouver from the stands while he was away on national team duty, but has shown an affinity for success in the rivalry games. He scored against the Timbers this year to bring his two-year total to five goals and one assist in seven Cascadia Cup matches.
He knows what is at stake for the players, the organization and, most of all the supporters, who dreamt up the Cascadia Cup trophy along with the supporters from Vancouver and Portland back in 2004.
“At the end of the day, as a franchise we want to win things,” Johnson said. “These are big games that you want to show well in.”
Sounders FC has had a lot of success against the Whitecaps in MLS play, going 3-0-3 overall, including a 1-0-2 record in Vancouver. That unbeaten road record gives the team even more of an edge as they ready to meet the fifth-place team in the Western Conference standings.
“We expect to play well up there,” defender Zach Scott said. “It feels almost like a second home with the results we’ve gotten. Every time we go up there, we seem to play well.”
Vancouver has had success this year in large part because of the third-best offense in the Western Conference with 27 goals through 17 matches.
That has come on increased production from Kenny Miller, who has five goals in just nine matches, while midfielder Russell Teibert has two goals and six assists and forward Darren Mattocks continues to use his speed as a constant threat. Seattle won’t have to contend with Teibert, who is with the Canadian National Team preparing for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but they are well aware of Vancouver’s top scorer, Camilo Sanvezzo.
The Brazilian forward has 10 goals and three assists this season – impressive enough statistics on their own. However, Sanvezzo has been particularly effective of late, scoring in each of the last five matches for seven goals and two assists in that stretch. That includes two goals against Sounders FC back on June 8.
“He’s going to get his opportunities, but hopefully we can limit the balls that he does get and make them difficult,” Scott said.
Sounders FC are hoping to have a more complete lineup against Vancouver as Lamar Neagle, Osvaldo Alonso and DeAndre Yedlin ease back from injuries. Getting them back would be just one more in a long line of boosts for the team’s confidence heading into a very important match on Saturday.