Three Key Match-Ups: at Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

MLS Regular Season
Saturday, May 24; 4 pm PT; BC Place
TV/Radio: JoeTV (KZJO channel 22/cable 10); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; THIS-TV, KOMO2 (Spanish); ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)

Sounders FC meets Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the first of three meetings this year between the Cascadia rivals. Here are three key matchups as Seattle looks to dethrone the holders of the Cascadia Cup.

Lamar Neagle vs. David Ousted
Neagle scored the game-winner in the first meeting between the two clubs last season, but in the final matchup had two golden opportunities stopped by Ousted. With four goals and three assists this season, he’s off to a hot start that has been overshadowed by the stellar play of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, but has a chance to break out this week with a good performance against Vancouver. Because of his speed, he has had his share of opportunities against Vancouver in the past. If he can convert it will mean good things for Seattle.

Kekutah Manneh vs. Seattle center backs
Last season, Manneh came into the meeting with Seattle in October with just two goals to his credit through the whole season. Three breaks behind the Sounders FC defense later, he netted a hat trick to lead Whitecaps FC to a 4-1 romp at CenturyLink Field. Each time, the speedy Gambian raced past the defenders into 1v1 situations with Michael Gspurning. Now, he has three goals in 10 matches, only four of which have been starts. He has been pushed further wide in Vancouver's 4-2-3-1 formation, but Manneh still can cause problems to Seattle's center backs if he can find space to run onto through balls.

Pedro Morales vs. Osvaldo Alonso
In the 4-2-3-1 formation employed by Vancouver Head Coach Carl Robinson, Morales acts as the central attacking midfielder and has produced three goals and two assists in nine matches, providing some attacking prowess in the absence of last year's MLS Golden Boot winner Camilo. The Chilean Designated Player has been hot and cold though. He had one goal and one assist in his MLS debut against the New York Red Bulls on March 8 and two goals in a 3-2 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on May 3, but otherwise has just one assist to his credit. Keeping him quiet will be the task of Alonso, who continues to be stifling in Seattle's midfield.