Seattle Sounders FC is familiar with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Canadian side just beat the Washington club in league play on Saturday night. That 3-nil victory will not have much bearing on the midweek match as both teams will need to heavily rotate their squads. BC Place hosts the rematch between the Cascadia Rivals. This is Vancouver's first trip to a CONCACAF championship.
In their various forms the Sounders are in their fifth visit to the continental championship. Sounders FC have three previous visits going as far as the semifinals in 2012-13. The USL Sounders made the 1996 CONCACAF Champions Cup pounding SV Transvaal before getting toasted in the Group Stage against Communicaciones, Necaxa and Cruz Azul.
Jon from Eighty-Six Forever answers Three Questions to get you more ready for the match.
SaH: Who is the best player that didn't feature in the win against Seattle?
86er: I'm going to cheat a bit and say the best player that didn't start the match, because the 'Caps didn't really leave many bodies on the bench. Pedro Morales has been battling the injury bug all season long, and has been a substitute for the last few weeks. Thankfully, the 'Caps have been able to pick up the slack, but he immediately changes the dynamic of the match the minute he steps on the pitch. Against Seattle over the weekend, he was subbed on in the 72nd minute, and scored a stunning free kick goal roughly 2 minutes later. The 'Caps are a much, much better team with Morales on the pitch. Then there's the veteran Mauro Rosales, who sat out the Seattle match with a groin injury. He's unlikely to play this week, but would be a welcome addition to the lineup if he could.
SaH: Who typically doesn't go twice within a given week?
86er: I wouldn't expect to see goal scoring machine Pa Modou Kah in the lineup, as the Whitecaps have depth options at the Center Back position, and Kah is one of those veterans who needs, and deserves a rest. I'd expect to see a mix of youth and experience in the lineup, and for any Whitecaps battling some nagging injuries (Morales, Rosales) to take a break.
SaH: Will there be a large crowd for the game?
86er: There had better be. The Whitecaps have a very good team, and are gaining respect in MLS every week, but it's awful tough to continue to gain that respect if you play in front of an empty barn. With good players on the roster, an exciting team to square off against and (hopefully) some good weather, there aren't many excuses to sit this one out.
Projected Lineup: Ousted, Beitashour, Waston, Parker, Dean, Laba, Teibert, Techera, Mezquida, Mattocks, Rivero
86er: 3-0 Whitecaps over the weekend. What went wrong for the Sounders?
SaH: Set-piece defense and lack of scoring. One of these was new. The Sounders defense had been strong (ish, they were keeping bad teams from scoring). But on Saturday that defense fouled in bad areas and then disaster happened. All of the goals were about mental errors, something which can plague teams, but is unusual for the players involved (Marshall, Evans, Dempsey) in those goals.
Then there's the scoring thing. This is still an issue.
86er: Were you impressed with any specific Whitecaps over the weekend?
SaH: Waston is a beast. Everyone knows that winning a high ball against him is nearly impossible, but most tend to overlook his quick feet. He was great at sticking a foot out and stopping low entry passes and intercepting through balls. While most of MLS best defenders are Americans, Waston continues to look like someone who could make the Best XI.
86er: Clint Dempsey is obviously the star, but who can step up and help him carry the offensive load?
SaH: The new signings and/or Obafemi Martins, none of which will play in this first CCL match. If Seattle is going to win this game it will have to be one of their kids (Jones, Mansaray, Kovar). At this point they may be punting on a CCL match. It's not a great look, but probably best considering the injuries and signings.
Predicted Lineup - Perkins; Kovar, Ockford, Scott, Fisher; Roldan, Azira, Rose; Neagle, Jones, Mansaray