Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders may not make the cut as one of the biggest MLS rivalries, but for anyone in Vancouver it’s one of the biggest home games of the season. With their Cascadia Cup hopes on life support, the ‘Caps face the Sounders on Wednesday night. Here are some key storylines to watch out for.
Forget Cascadia, it’s all about the playoffs
The Whitecaps are currently bottom of the Cascadia Cup table with three points from three games. If the ‘Caps hope to retain the trophy they won last year, they need to pick up a win on Wednesday.
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But there are bigger fish to fry for the Whitecaps, as we enter the final third of the season. With 11 games left to play, the ‘Caps are in sixth place in the Western Conference, That’s six points behind the Conference-leading Sounders, making this a proverbial six-pointer. If the Whitecaps lose, they’ll be nine points behind Seattle. If they win, the gap will be three points, and Vancouver have two games in hand.
So beyond the rivalry, a home match against Western opposition carries its own importance to the playoff race.
Reyna looking to keep growing
It was mostly the Yordy Reyna Show on Saturday against Houston, as the Peruvian earned a penalty and scored the winner from outside the box. Reyna has brought a new dimension to the Whitecaps attack since he finally returned from his preseason injury.
Whether it’s contributing creatively to the midfield, or drawing fouls, expect to see Reyna at the centre of things on Wednesday.
Montero hungry for more
It’s almost a cliche for players to score against their former teams. But Fredy Montero did just that the last time these two teams met. His two goals earned the Whitecaps a 2-1 win over Seattle on Good Friday, and with the other striking options limited, he’ll almost certainly be leading the line on Wednesday.
Montero has been a frustrated figure at times this season, isolated up front playing a lone striker role he really isn’t suited for. There were positive signs on Saturday as he was able to interact with Christian Bolaños, Cristian Techera, and Reyna and get more involved in the build-up. If he can build on that performance, don’t count against him adding to his already extensive Cascadia Cup resume.
Carl Robinson likes to keep the faith with teams that win matches, but with three games in a week some rotation will be needed.
How to Watch:
Where: BC Place, Vancouver
When: Wednesday, August 23rd, 7 pm PT
Channel: MLS LIVE, TSN1 (Canada Only)