Cascadia rivalry time
The Seattle Sounders had their 5-match winning streak snapped with their last loss to Real Salt Lake, which was at home no less, and on Saturday they are north of the border to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Sounders have yet to lose on the road this season with 2 wins and 1 draw while the Whitecaps are 3-1-1 at home.
Seattle will have to be ready for a well rested squad as Vancouver rested several key players in their last MLS match, which they lost 4-1 at New England.
The Caps’ of course did have a mid-week game this week as well in the Amway Canadian Championships vs. Toronto FC. A hard earned 1-1 draw. An amazing injury time volley from Eric Hassli secured the much needed draw.
The Whitecaps are in 4th place in the Western Conference 5-point behind 3rd place Seattle and they also had a their winning streak snapped in their last match.
Here are 5 things the Sounders need to do to beat the Whitecaps.
1. Continue to play solid defense
The Sounders did lose their last match, but they only gave up 1 goal and this season they have given up the fewest goals in the MLS. If they play solid defense against a Whitecaps team that has scored the 3rd fewest goals in the Western Conference they should be in good shape.
2. Contain Eric Hassli up front
Eric Hassli is coming into form and the French striker has 2 goals in his last 2 matches. He is a big 6’4″ physical player that is dangerous in air and on set pieces and he scored last season facing the Sounders.
Seattle must body up on him and keep him off his mark.
3. Keep up with Sabastien Le Toux
Sebastian Le Toux is an ex-Sounders’ player that never slows down and always creates space by his excellent movement off the ball. He has 3 goals on the season and the Sounders’ defense can’t let up and they have to stay up with him the entire match.
4. Keep captain Jay Demerit from controlling the pitch
Jay Demerit is the captain of the Whitecaps and at the central area of the park he is the key why the Vancouver defense has been so solid this season.
5. Slow the pace of the match
The Whitecaps play a flowing and face pace of soccer since they have a strong MF and the Sounders have to get in the passing lanes and slow the pace of the game.
The more they win the time of possession battle and not allow Vancouver to make long runs and connect on passes for long stretches on the pitch the better off they’ll be.
SOUNDERS FC Injury Report
I’ll be surprised if the Sounders don’t come away victorious in this first Cascadia cup matchup.
Saturday’s 2 p.m. rivalry game against the Caps at BC Place is the 126th soccer meeting between the cities in their longstanding northwest rivalry dating back to the old NASL days.