VANvSEA Training Sider Roldan Cover

It all comes down to this.

The Seattle Sounders head north of the border to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps (3:00 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, KUNS, Prime Video, 1090 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) at BC Place on Sunday in the club’s final match of the MLS regular season. Seattle enters the fixture against one of its oldest rivals one point clear atop the West, while the hosts are arguably the most in-form team in the league and will be fighting to clinch a spot in the postseason after spending most of the year at the bottom of the standings.

The stakes are high, and the possible outcomes are relatively simple: if the Rave Green pick up three points, they will secure the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the 2021 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs and secure a third consecutive Cascadia Cup title.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” midfielder Cristian Roldan told media this week. “They are playing extremely well right now, especially the second half of the season. They play in an interesting system, so being able to exploit them [will be important]. Anytime you go on the road, with Cascadia Cup on the line, is going to be really tough. But we have to get a result and we’re definitely going for a win.”

According to midfielder Kelyn Rowe, the urgency of the moment will help fuel the team heading into the rivalry match.

“This is the type of pressure that every athlete would want,” said Rowe. “You know, when you played in the backyard [as a kid] you would count down 3...2…1… for that final shot. That’s that final shot right now, against Vancouver. We want to make sure we come out first place in the West. Whatever it takes to get there, we’re going to make sure we get it.” 

The Rave Green have struggled for results in recent weeks, entering the tilt against Vancouver on a five-match winless streak. For Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, a strong display on Sunday that builds momentum heading into the postseason is one of the team’s primary objectives. 

“Number one [in the West] would be nice,” said Schmetzer. “It would be a just reward for the amount of adversity [we’ve faced] and the work that these guys have put in throughout the full year. But first or second doesn’t really matter. I just want the team to play well the last game of the season. That’s more important.”

Seattle and Vancouver have faced already faced off twice at Lumen Field this season, with the Whitecaps picking up a 2-2 draw in June and the Sounders winning 4-1 in October. It won’t be easy, but a strong team performance on Sunday against a Cascadia rival could serve as the catalyst for another run for the Rave Green in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

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