Fresh off a 3-0 thumping of Philadelphia Union, Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-3L-2D) return to BC Place on Saturday to host Seattle Sounders FC (5W-3L-1D) in front of a sold out crowd in a much-anticipated Cascadia derby.
“It’s a big rivalry and everyone’s excited,” said Whitecaps FC midfielder Russell Teibert. “From the fans to guys in the locker room to staff, there’s a buzz in the city and it’s going to be a great game.”
Match Day: Saturday, May 16
Kickoff: 4 p.m. PT
Venue: BC Place
Radio: TSN 1410
The ‘Caps enter Saturday’s contest tied for the top spot in the Western Conference with 20 points from their first 11 matches. Last year, it took Vancouver until June 1 to reach the 20-point mark and they still finished with their highest-ever point total in MLS.
“It’s early in the season so we aren’t neccesarily looking at the standings,” said Whitecaps FC defender Jordan Harvey. “We just need to keep getting points.”
Carl Robinson’s side broke out offensively last weekend against the reeling Union, scoring three goals through Octavio Rivero, Pedro Morales, and Darren Mattocks, and posted their second straight clean sheet thanks to a remarkable save by David Ousted. Whitecaps FC now lead the league with six clean sheets.
Saturday’s match will be Vancouver’s second of three in the span of eight days. Robinson rotated his squad on Wednesday, when the ‘Caps drew FC Edmonton 1-1 in the first leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal at BC Place. The two teams will meet again next Wednesday in the decisive second leg in Edmonton.
Seattle saw their three-match winning streak snapped last weekend, falling 3-2 to Columbus Crew in Ohio. Despite the loss, the Sounders are still third in the Western Conference – four points behind Whitecaps FC with two games in hand.
“Seattle has been regarded as one of the best teams over the past three or four years and they are one of the best teams to this day,” Teibert said. “So no matter what anybody says about who is the best team and who isn’t, it’s going to be a battle and we’re going to be up for the fight.”
It’s no secret that Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are the two Sounders FC players to watch. They have combined to score 13 of Seattle’s 15 goals this season, making them the most potent attacking duo in MLS. Dempsey is tied for the MLS lead with seven goals and Martins is right behind him with six.
The ‘Caps may have caught a break, though, as Martins didn’t train on Thursday after undergoing an X-ray for an undisclosed ailment.
“He’s had a little bit of a complaint but we want to see the X-ray and we’ll make a determination tomorrow,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said on Thursday.
The tables have turned.
After going winless in their first six meetings against Seattle in MLS, the ‘Caps have now won four of their last five encounters. Now undefeated in five matches, the Blue and White have a slight edge over their Cascadia rivals in MLS with a 4W-3L-4D record.
This will be the first of three meetings between Vancouver and Seattle this season. The Rave Green are back at BC Place on September 19.
After winning back-to-back Cascadia Cups, Whitecaps FC are the most successful team in competition history with five titles to their name.
Here’s how things are shaping up so far this season.