Seattle heads on the road for the third straight match on Saturday as it heads north to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps FC. Here to discuss the Rave Green's prospects in Canada is former defender, current broadcaster and Senior Director of Business Operations Taylor Graham. He's a very talented man.
On the Sounders form in Columbus:
I think after the first fifteen minutes, the team played much better defensively. Both Sigi [Schmid] and Brad [Evans] talked about how in the beginning of the game, Columbus was finding space that hadn’t previously been exposed by our team. They had to figure out how to play against a team that uses that style and formation. Columbus is a team that plays well off the ball with a target striker.
There will be a lot of the same challenges against Vancouver this weekend. Whitecaps FC is attacking-oriented, they also play with a target striker who is scoring goals and they really do utilize all the space on the pitch. They also attack with their outside backs.
On the rivalry match in Vancouver:
In a rivalry match, the tactics aren’t going to win it. It’s going to be a matter of effort. It’s not about what history shows you, it’s about who shows up on that given day. That’s what makes a rivalry like this one so special: either team can have the other one’s number for an extended period of time, but unless you show up, take the chances and defend well, you won’t get a result.
Vancouver is a tough place to play with a very explosive and deep team. No one really stands out outside of Octavio Rivero as being their go-to guy, but they’re well rounded. Because of that, the Sounders need to have a complete performance both defensively and offensively.
On the Sounders attack:
Ultimately, you want to see everyone contribute, but the biggest red flag would be if Clint [Dempsey] and Obafemi [Martins] weren’t having continued success. The Sounders are producing chances and scoring goals – that’s the most important. Who they come from doesn’t matter. If teams start to lock them down, then there’s increased pressure on other players to step up, which is going to give them more opportunities to play.
It’s going to be a fascinating game because both teams really do thrive on being able to transition with pace. It’s going to be interesting to see who sits back and tries to absorb some of that pressure and attack with the pace and the offensive creativity of those players. I can see both teams trying to expose the other one, make them feel complacent, and then hit them on the counterattack.