2024

Sounders-Whitecaps rivalry enters new era as both clubs celebrate 50th anniversary

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Lumen Field is set to host two of the three MLS clubs celebrating its 50th Anniversary this season on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 93.3 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS).

The Seattle Sounders and the Vancouver Whitecaps have battled it out on the pitch since both sides joined the NASL in 1974. Now, they meet again in MLS regular season play, where they are not only fighting for three points, but also competing for the 2024 Cascadia Cup.

“The rivalry in itself against Portland and Vancouver, we want to win every single one of those games,” said midfielder Cristian Roldan. “And it adds a lot more incentive when we're at home.”

Between three Pacific Northwest clubs, the two teams scheduled to go head-to-head in Seattle over the weekend are tied for the most Cascadia Cups with seven apiece. While the Rave Green leads the Whitecaps with an all-time record of 73-52-26 and 17-9-9 in the MLS regular series, it will be a challenging match nonetheless for the home team.

This is especially true with the Canadian side currently sitting second the Western Conference standings.

"The last three years or so [the Whitecaps] made good strides, and they've become a very, very competitive and difficult team and obviously this year, they've showcased that straight out of the gate," said goalkeeper Stefan Frei

But the Sounders have laid out the groundwork and tactics required during this week’s training to minimize the strong presence the Whitecaps have built so far this season and solidify three points this weekend.

“We can't lose the ball in certain areas of the field because Vancouver is a team that puts a lot of pressure on you, defensively,” said Roldan. “They make it really difficult in the midfield, so we can't turn over the ball in those areas.”

The Seattle side recognizes their need to emulate their approach to their recent 5-0 home victory against CF Montréal.

“With our qualities, it's more important that we really just dictate and take the game and really make it go in a way that we want it to go,” said Frei. “I think that's what led to our success in the last home game. We were very aggressive, we wanted to impose our will and our style, and it made the opponent very uncomfortable.”

It will be a competitive match as the Whitecaps look to maintain their high ranking in the Western Conference while the Sounders aim to climb the table and bring their shutout streak to three. 

But it will take the effort of Seattle’s entire roster and its fans in the stands for them to break down the Whitecaps and achieve this task.

“At home, we have to play very fast. We have to create space for one another, we have to run off the ball,” said Roldan. “And then defensively, how can we get behind the ball? How can we counter press? How can we get the ball back and start the attack? We want to play offensive football. We want to get the crowd involved.”

“That's going to be really important going into this game.”

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