Vancouver Whitecaps FC are back in action this weekend as they take on 3-0-0 Seattle Sounders FC, in a Cascadia Cup derby match at BC Place on Saturday night. The 0-3-0 Caps are looking to pick up their first points of the season.
Coach Marc Dos Santos comes into his first Cascadia match with a unique approach. He knows Seattle is an important match, but he’s not placing Sounders FC on a higher level.
“I know it’s fun for the fans and I get all of that,” Dos Santos told reporters at BC Place earlier this week.
“I have a huge respect for that, but unfortunately for me I feel the same passion as when we played Minnesota, or any game. It’s a loser mentality to switch on and off, because it’s Seattle, Portland, Cincinnati, or Chicago. That’s what I tell them.”
“If a player tells me, ‘Oh it’s Seattle, I’m going to step it up,’ well… he’s a cheater,” he continued. “What, you’re going to step it down next week, when we play LA Galaxy? It’s wrong. It’s another game for us, and we have to approach it like that. It’s a loser mentality, and it’s cheating in my opinion.”
No matter the opposition, every match has the same amount of points up for grabs. There should be no adjustment level. Dos Santos wants to see his team with the same type of mindset, and approach to win in each, and every match.
Vancouver and Seattle matches mean more to the fans of both teams. Bragging rights are on the line, and there will be 500 cheering Sounders FC fans at BC Place.
Seattle enters the match with two of the top scorers in MLS. Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidíaz have each scored three goals. Vancouver has scored four goals in three matches. Two of those goals came from centre-backs Doneil Henry, and Erik Godoy in the home opener.
“Yeah, they are doing everything right so far,” Dos Santos said of Seattle. “That’s why they have 10 goals in three games. We are very aware of the offensive traits that they have in (Nicolas) Lodeiro, Ruidíaz, Morris, (Victor) Rodriguez, and (Bradley) Smith.”
“They’re a team that for me in this moment, is maybe top two, three in MLS. (They) have a lot of internationals that play for very strong national teams. We are aware of that.”
Whitecaps FC can’t get into a track meet with Seattle or it could be lights out early. Sounders FC have so many dangerous players that could make for a long evening.
Vancouver has to control the match early, limit turnovers, and play with the ball. Seattle has a strong transition game, that Vancouver must be prepared to defend against.
If Vancouver is going to earn a result, Henry, is going to have to have a big match. The durable defender has been a surprise this season. If Seattle is kept off the score-sheet, Henry’s marking will need to be outstanding.
“I think everybody understands what it takes to win,” Henry explained. “A little bit more concentration. It’s tough because at this point of the season. I think we’ve been hard done by. We should have points already, but we don’t, we’re looking forward to taking some against Seattle.”