Three Key Match-Ups: at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

MLS Regular Season
Saturday, July 5; 7 pm PT; BC Place; Vancouver, BC
TV/Radio: JOEtv (locally, KZJO channel 22/cable 10); ROOT Sports (regionally); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; THIS TV (KOMO2, Spanish); ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)

Sounders FC meets Vancouver Whitecaps FC for the second time this season on Saturday at BC Place in Vancouver.  Here are three matchups to watch as Seattle looks to extend its lead in the Western Conference and take the Cascadia Cup lead away from Vancouver.

Pedro Morales vs. Micheal Azira
Both Gonzalo Pineda and Osvaldo Alonso will be serving one-match suspensions for yellow card accumulation and that leaves Azira to man that role in the midfield.  He will have a tough task ahead in slowing down Morales.  The 29-year-old Chilean went into the World Cup break on fire with five goals and three assists over five games before the three-week hiatus from regular season matches.  Now, with Vancouver going scoreless in its first two games back, he will be hungry to return to form.

Obafemi Martins vs. Johnny Leveron
Speaking of absences, Martins was in good form entering the World Cup break.  However, a red card in the first-half finale meant he would have to miss the first game back last week against D.C. United.  Now fresh and ready to return to the field, Martins will be up against a pair of players— Leveron and Carlyle Mitchell—who started the season in backup roles in because of injuries to veteran defenders Jay DeMerit and Andy O’Brien.  If Seattle can get the ball beyond the midfield tandem of Matias Laba and Gershon Koffie, Martins will have his opportunities to add to his eight goals on the season.

Marco Pappa vs. Jordan Harvey
Sounders FC will likely play through the wide channels with Pineda and Alonso out.  That means the ball will go through the creative boots of Marco Pappa more than normal as Seattle looks to play around the midfield blockade of Laba and Koffie that stymied Seattle’s attack so frequently the last time these teams met on May 24.  Seattle was able to garner a 2-2 draw after a late penalty scored by Pineda. 

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