Northwest MLS Rivalry Fixture
Vancouver’s inaugural MLS season has obviously had more downs that ups but a win on Saturday night over the Seattle Sounders would have the Whitecaps smiling ear to ear. Seattle will clinch a playoff berth with a win, so Vancouver will attempt to play the spoiler role.
Might the Sounders be ripe for a loss?
By all accounts, 2011 has been a season to remember for them. They’ve already set franchise records for points with 51 and goals with 46 and, at 14-6-9 on the year, need just one more victory to set another franchise record.
But the road may not be as easy as usual. Seattle will play without one of its top players. Midfielder Mauro Rosales was on fire a week ago. He had four goals and nine assists over his last 11 league matches and his two assists against D.C. United on Saturday gave him a new franchise single-season record with 12.
However, in the 89th minute, he took a foul from United defender Daniel Woolard and tore his right MCL. Seattle must soldier on without him as it tries to secure its third playoff berth in its third season in the league.
Vancouver thus knows it has a better shot than normal to beat its rival. If Eric Hassli can break his scoring drought the homeside could steal a win.
The Whitecaps tied Seattle 2-2 on June 11.
Don’t be surprised if the Whitecaps triumph at home. Two other factors should give them extra motivation. The first is that they’ll be saying goodbye to Empire Field.
Saturday’s home affair will mark their final game there before they move to the renovated BC Place on October 2.
Also, Vancouver still has a chance to win the Cascadia Cup, a round-robin competition been the Whitecaps, Sounders and Portland Timbers.
The Whitecaps could win it by beating the Sounders this week and the Timbers next week.
With Seattle depleted by a key injury and Vancouver in desperate need of playing meaningful soccer, we should see a close game and a fittingly thrilling send-off to Empire Field.