Both Cascadia teams look to the red line as slow car to pass, not an immobile wall to slam into towards the end of 2017. If one of Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps sweeps their two remaining matches they will leap ahead in the race for the six seed. Vancouver is currently seventh with a 9-13-7 -8 record (4-9-2 on the road). Seattle is ninth in the West with a 9-13-5 -4 record (7-5-1 at home).
Jon from Eighty Six Forever answers Three Questions.
SaH: This Alphonso Davies kid is something special. Can he impact this game? Or is his time still a few years away?
86er: I think Davies is a great option off the bench and for the occasional start, but he's likely a few seasons away from making a consistent impact in MLS. That is, if he actually stays in MLS. 15 years old and he already has shown glimpses of brilliance; I think it's only a matter of time before the Whitecaps are presented with an offer they cannot refuse. So, to answer your question, he could absolutely make an impact in this match. He is riding a high wave of confidence after his performance on Tuesday, and Carl Robinson would have to be foolish to not find some way to get him involved.
SaH: Seattle's offense is down lately. Is Vancouver someone they should be able to re-ignite against?
86er: The Whitecaps have been poor defensively for most of the season, and it stems largely from a drop-off in play from Kendall Waston. However, in recent weeks they've been much better. Including Regular season and CCL play, the Whitecaps haven't allowed more than one goal in five straight contests. After two straight wins, the Sounders are catching the Whitecaps with some confidence and swagger in tow, so it really remains to be seen which version of the Whitecaps defense decides to show up.
SaH: Will the Whitecaps make the playoffs?
86er: They've underachieved all season. I have faith this is the start of making up for that. I say the do make the post-season, but to be honest, I don't see them advancing far.
Projected Lineup: Ousted, Edgar, Parker, Waston, Harvey, Aird, Laba, Bolanos, Morales, Techera, Barnes
86er: What's wrong with the Sounders this year?
SaH: They've really only played four games with more than two effective attacking options. They won all four of them. It turns out that having a damn good rookie with either Clint Dempsey or Nicolas Lodeiro is not enough of an offense. Losing Obafemi Martins sucked - not just because of his talent, but because when they lost him they'd already chosen to not have Neagle, Pappa or Barrett. That left their third best attacking player as... I don't know. Ivanschitz has been OK, but mostly after the Lodeiro signing. Gomez and Valdez are ineffective. For the vast majority of the season the Seattle Sounders could not create goal scoring chances. Too often when they did they'd squander it.
86er: Jordan Morris seems to be a bright spot this year. What makes him successful on the pitch?
SaH: Jordan has a few skills that stick out at this and the international level. The first is his speed. His frame makes you think he'd be a slow tank, but it's a lie. Morris has quick bursts that he can sustain over a couple dozen yards. That's perfect for getting behind a defense. He also reads space well. Just an average MLS finisher, Jordan is constantly in spaces where he can get off clean shots, mostly with a potent right foot.
Toss in some decent passing, improving hold up play and you have enough skills to be the second best rookie forward in recent years.
86er: Are the playoffs still a possibility?
SaH: For Seattle to make the playoffs they basically need to sweep Vancouver, Chicago and Houston. They might be able to do it with nine points, but the target has to be 12 there. Nearly every game is a play-in game now. For the first time in eight MLS seasons the Seattle Sounders probably don't make the playoffs. But they will make the end of the season interesting.
Projected Lineup: Frei; J.Jones, Marshall, Torres, Mears; Alonso, Roldan; Ivanschitz, Lodeiro, Fernandez; Morris