Friday, September 23, 2011

Seattle Sounders vs Whitecaps FC Match Preview

After touring the two biggest coasts of America, New York and LA, the Whitecaps return to Empire to face their rivals in the Seattle Sounders. It's their second meeting in MLS with the first ending in a 2-2 draw with the tying goal from Eric Hassli making him a worldwide sensation on the internet. It is also will be the last match to be played at Empire Field as the team will be moving to the newly renovated BC Place.



Despite being stuck on ten goals for an extended period Eric Hassli has been doing a lot off the ball including some nice playmaking.  The Frenchman has had to attempt to create his own chances, especially against LA, due to the lack of service from the midfielders.

With Morales out with a knee injury, the focus of the attack from the midfield may fall to local product Lamar Neagle who sits fourth on team in scoring with five.  The goals have come in six starts as well as limited minutes giving him a strike rate of .65 goals over a 90 minute game.


The Whitecaps will be without Rochat due to suspension so Jay DeMerit will need to bounce back from last week’s match.  The captain will most likely be partnered with either Boxall or Janicki so he will need to be vocal and keep the backline organized and on task.

Normally Osvaldo Alonso plays as a holding midfielder and does a fantastic job of disrupting the opposition’s flow through the midfield.  This year he has contributed offensively as well tripling his season high in goals to three.


The most consistent player in the final third for the Whitecaps, Camilo was the only player who looked dangerous against the Galaxy.  He will most likely start on the wing and make his runs into the box creating his own chances as well setting up his teammates for their chances.

The Colombian striker, Freddy Montero, is having another solid season and with more support is not being called upon to contribute so much offense.  In his last four games Montero has a goal and three assists which have brought his season totals to seven goals and eight assists.


4W -14L-10D
9th in Western Conference
Last Game: 3-0 Loss at LA Galaxy

3rd in Western Conference
Last Game:  3-0 Win vs D.C. United



OUT:  FW Atiba Harris (knee), GK Brian Sylvestre (knee), MF Russell Teibert (toe)
PROBABLE:  MF John Thorrington (groin), MF Michael Nanchoff (hip/knee)

OUT:  GK Terry Boss (concussion), MF Michael Seamon (ankle), MF Steve Zakuani (leg), FW O’Brian White (leg)
DOUBTFUL:  MF Mauro Rosales (knee sprain);
QUESTIONABLE: MF Erik Friberg (hip), DF James Riley (concussion) 




In a season where the majority of results in the pitch have gone wrong, the Caps have a chance to make it right against their biggest rivals. A win will put Vancouver in the driver's seat for the opportunity to lift the Cascadia Cup as they host the Timbers the following week.  A draw will eliminate the Whitecaps from any chances to capture the hardware while a win by the Sounders will clinch the trophy for them.

The suspension for Alain Rochat will have Boxall return to lineup and pair with DeMerit with Leathers and Harvey at fullback playing in front if Joe Cannon. While the midfield disappointed last week there is little doubt that the starting four of Camilo, Vagenas, Koffie and Salinas will get the call. With Chiumiento seemingly better in health, he will start up front with designated player Eric Hassli.

Breaking down tactics this week are no different than almost every other week the Caps have played. They need better organization in the backline and the midfield needs to provide adequate service to the forwards. If Chiumiento is healthy and fit, it will be the chemistry between himself, Hassli and Camilo that will drive the attack for the home side.

At this point of the season the organization is hoping that Mustapha Jarju can contribute on the pitch whether it's as a striker or as a central midfielder. He was better against the Galaxy than he was against New York but it was not good enough for a designated player. Despite only showing up in the middle of the season there are many in media that are questioning the decision to bring him in.

In their first matchup the Whitecaps had success attacking with their wingers as Camilo drew a penalty and Salinas hit the post on a clear break. Defensively the backline will not have to worry Seattle's MVP this season in Rosales as he is out with a sprained knee. However the Sounders are deep in their attack and will have to call on one of them to be the playmaker.

The Sounders just played a Champion League match earlier in the week and may have tired legs if they decide not to rotate players.  It could be the advantage the Caps are hoping for in order to get a leg up on Seattle and winning their first against a Conference opponent. If they don't then the 500+ Sounder supporters will have an enjoyable trip down the I5.

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