Just about a month ago the Vancouver Whitecaps came down I-5 to play on temporary grass and lose. Now Seattle Sounders FC heads up to the Great White North to seize control of the 2013 Cascadia Cup race. If they get another win they would have seven points in three played and merely holding serve against the Timbers would be enough to win back the supporter owned and trademarked rivalry cup (yes, that's new).
While the 'Caps lose their playmaker to the Gold Cup, Seattle is unaffected. This will still be the toughest match of the month for the Rave Green. But, there is some good news. Osvaldo Alonso and DeAndre Yedlin are healthy enough to be in the traveling 20 and will bus up tonight. They could join the nearly healthy lineup for a full strength XI.
Joining us for Three Questions today is Jon from Eighty Six Forever where the World Expo is still celebrated, or something. That joke would have been funnier except that the Sounders official logo is a tribute to our hosting the Expo. Their writer roundtable goes 2-1, 2-1, 1-0 all in Vancouver's favor. All are claiming that the Whitecaps will get their first ever MLS Cascadia Cup win.
SaH: Life without Teibert is going to be a bit rough during the Gold Cup. How did the Vancouver attack look without him against Sporting and is that something that can carry forward?
86er: The attack looked stunted, no doubt, but the 'Caps got far more chances than I thought they would. It's interesting because we all assumed Teibert was the straw that stirs the drink, but Kenny Miller and Camilo looked fine carrying the attack themselves. The 'Caps really tried to utilize that long through ball approach for most of the match, and while it didn't work as well as it has in the past, it definitely put KC back on their heels. I'm not sure if they can sustain that sort of attack, especially with Nigel Reo-Coker playing Right back, but there's a chance he could be moved back to mid if Andy O'Brien can go against Seattle.
SaH: Reo-Coker slid into defense in that match. Is that going to happen at home too?
86er: The 'Caps put him on the backline because they had few other options. After injuries to O'Brien, Brad Rusin and Jay Demerit and the trade of Alain Rochat, they simply weren't good enough with Carlyle Mitchell and Greg Klazura. I'm sure you all remember that from the 'Caps last match against the Sounders. Now, Brad Rusin is back, and if O'Brien is ready to go, then I would imagine Reo-Coker will be put back in mid, with YP Lee and Jordan Harvey taking their regular spots out wide.
SaH: Camilo's been kind of awesome. Can he keep this up?
86er: We've all been surprised at just how good Camilo has been this season. He's appeared in 16 matches, but only started 12, and yet he's among the league leaders with 10 goals. When Russell Teibert is in mid, you see Camilo score those header goals in the box. However, with Teibert out, we've seen just how good Camilo is at set pieces. His screaming free kick against Sporting KC was a curling thing of beauty, and it's not the first time he's done it this season. With Teibert out, I'm not sure Camilo can keep up his almost goal a match pace, but I definitely think he's still going to be very dangerous when he steps foot on the pitch.
OUT: Jay Demerit (achilles, out), Andy O'Brien (hamstring, questionable), Russell Teibert (international call-up) , Carlyle Mitchell (International Call-up)
Projected Lineup: KNIGHTON, LEE, RUSIN, O'BRIEN (LEVERON IF O'BRIEN CAN'T GO), HARVEY, REO-COKER, WATSON, KOBAYASHI, HERTZOG, MILLER, CAMILO
86er: It hurts to say, but the Sounders have dominated the Whitecaps since the 'Caps joined MLS. How do they do it, and do you see it continuing this weekend?
SaH: It's hard to judge because the Whitecaps are on their third coach and maybe the like a fifth or sixth different roster since they joined the league. I think it's just more about Seattle only really struggling with LA and RSL while Sounders FC do quite well against the rest of MLS. There is also the fact that even though Seattle faced Vancouver one more time at BC Place Seattle is a good road team despite all the miles they put in over a year. All of that likely means little in a one off match. Both teams need the points to keep pace with sides like RSL, FCD and that team to the South.
86er: The Sounders started the season rough, but are just one win out of a playoff spot. Is this a playoff team, or a playoff bubble team?
SaH: They're a playoff team. They are one win short of a .500 winning percentage, have the fifth best per match record in MLS and did all of that while being down multiple players for National Team duty and injuries to key personnel. Now healthy and undamaged by the Gold Cup July is a month when Seattle can make a strong run at points and Conference Playoff positioning. The Vancouver match is the toughest on the schedule and like the rest of the second half of the season has more home games than away.
86er: Obafemi Martins originally wasn't supposed to play the last time these two teams met. Then his red card was rescinded, and he played a huge role in the Sounders win. With 6 goals on the season, has Martins given you what you expected?
SaH: Oba's been great. Unlike many DPs who take time to get used to MLS, his play has adapted quickly. This is likely because his strengths are in his speed and strength. His other skills are all well above MLS average, but he is used to using the very things that work in MLS to succeed and so he is doing quite well. The second goal against DC is probably the best example of an MLS goal by a guy much better than MLS in quality. Martins pounced on a loose ball and then muscled his way through traffic to eventually be one-on-one with the keeper. Then it was just a matter of an easy shot.
*Bonus!* Martins is apparently changing his backflip goal celebration. Thoughts? (This can literally be one sentence)
SaH: I want more flips. Lots and lots of flips. Mixing it up was nice and all, but can you really be too excited to backflip?
Injuries - Zakuani is out. Alonso and Yedlin could be coming back from their injuries.
Lineup - Gspurning; Gonzalez, Traore, Hurtado, Yedlin; Alonso; Neagle, Evans, Rosales; Johnson, Martins