Plenty at stake for Sounders in Vancouver
Bragging rights, a trophy, and an MLS playoff berth are all incentives for the Seattle Sounders in Saturday night’s game at Vancouver’s BC Place.
If Seattle can beat the Whitecaps it stays in the hunt for the Cascadia Cup. The Sounders would have to beat Portland next week at CenturyLink field to retain the Northwest trophy they won last season.
Earning a tie at Vancouver would give the Sounders the one point they need to lock up a spot in the MLS postseason. The Whitecaps are barely hanging on to a playoff spot, which makes them a dangerous team, according to Seattle coach Sigi Schmid.
“They are a team that’s a little desperate from the standpoint they know Dallas is right there, and they need to get points,” Schmid said during our Coach’s Corner interview. “It’s always a rivalry game, and that changes things any way.”
In mid-May the Sounders used second-half goals from Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson to gain a 2-all tie at Vancouver. In mid-August it was again Fredy and Eddie scoring in a 2-nil Sounders victory on their home pitch.
Johnson returns to the starting lineup following a one-game suspension for too many yellow cards. Schmid told me midfielder Mauro Rosales is at full health and will also play against Vancouver.
David Estrada is back at full form after a two-month-long foot injury. The never-tiring UCLA product looks forward to helping the Sounders’ playoff push.
“I think my strength is stretching the defense and playing up top,” Estrada told me at practice this week, “but I’m willing to play outside and make runs that cause problems for their defense, too.”
Several hundred Seattle fans are expected to make the trip to British Columbia, and Schmid said he wants their return trip across the border to be a happy one.
NBCSN has the television pictures. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller call the action on 97.3 KIRO FM. Coverage starts at 5:30 Saturday night with Matt Johnson hosting the pregame and postgame shows.