VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC v. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – Pre-Match Analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s again come time to travel to the Great White North and reprise the auld rivalry that has existed between Seattle and Vancouver since the mid-1970s. That’s right, a midweek fixture in Canada, land of migratory geese and poutine against the Whitecaps FC at 7:00 p.m. PDT. The last chapter took place at Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, B.C. seeing our Sounders fall 2:1 with both goals scored by former Sounders FC and Sporting Lisbon standout Fredy Montero.

It hurts that in his return to North American football that he would sign with a rival club, but I guess that’s business, yeh? If only we had a spare £4.6 million (the better part of $6 million) and Designated Player slot lying about we might have re-signed him were he not too expensive and on the wrong side of 30, but I digress.

So, yeh, Montero torpedoed us with a brace of two second half strikes in the space of 15 minutes. Shambles. But it’s a new day innit? [Pause for dramatic effect] I like our chances. These are genius days, unlike the awful stretch between the end of March and mid-May where we dropped four of eight matches, winning only once (1-3-4). It was a dark time where I had curled into the fetal position on our settee surrounded by a glittering sea of lager tins. But what light through yonder breaks? Or summat that some blokes said in an amazing and very old play.

Now they have to face our lot on the best form of the season riding and unbeaten stretch of nine matches. This top form is currently the best in the league and ties us for the longest unbeaten stretch the Sounders have ever had in their nine MLS seasons. They have to face our lot that’s been reinforced by Leerdam, Rodriguez, Neagle, and Mallace. Our rejuvenated lot that’s only conceded one goal in the last five matches.

If ECS is running the coach up to Canada, and I would be shocked if they weren’t, get your ticket and get on. If you can’t make your way to BC Place, find a viewing party at your local Sounders-friendly pub. Together, we shall will our boys in Green to another great result when we join in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

dempsey
Look who’s rounding into top form at just the right time. Mark him too tightly and he’ll cut the defence apart with a perfectly weighted through ball. Cut him too much slack and he’ll bury one on ye. Tip top.

The Good News
Sounders are not only in their best form of the season but have tied a club record with their nine match unbeaten streak. It is the best current vein of form in the league. We are sitting in fourth place in the league table, six points clear of the ‘Caps, and 10 points adrift of leaders Toronto FC with nine matches to play.

In sharp contrast, Vancouver have had spotty form of late with only two wins in the last five matches, four wins in the last 10. In the all-time series, we are currently dead even at 7-4-7. All-time at Vancouver we are 4-3-3 which is very good indeed.

Against common foes, we have 16 positive results to Vancouver’s 11. We’ve only conceded one goal in the last five matches. The foundation of our defence, recently bolstered by Kelvin Leerdam, has seen us climb the table on a ballistic curve.

Other than Evans’ back problem the entire side is healthy and available for selection. Vancouver are missing Edgar and Laba who are both rehabbing from torn ligaments. As Edgar had an 11-year career in English football, and Laba has nearly 130 matches of MLS football and a previous career of over 60 matches of Argentinian football with Argentinos Juniors, they are missing a wealth of experience in the team. This makes the ‘Caps potentially vulnerable at the back.

The Bad News
The ‘Caps are playing well at home this season with a record of 6-2-3. Our away form for the season has been solid, but less than scintillating at 3-4-6. In terms of hitting goals and keeping them out, the two sides seem nearly a perfect match as in terms of goals for and against there’s not much between us.

The only meeting between the clubs this season saw us lose 2:1 back in April. Montero torched us for a brace in the span of 15 minutes, answered only by a late strike from Will Bruin. Desperation may play a factor, as Vancouver are holding on to the last MLS Cup qualifying berth at present with both San Jose and Salt Lake nipping at their heels. This and Montero’s likely desire to score “I told you so” goals against us could prove to be a significant intangible.

Jones has inexplicably departed to play with Trinidad & Tobago. I know almost nothing about this, but more later as the circumstances become clearer. As his understudy, Nouhou Tolo is more than adequate to cover, everything should be just fine. At least for now.

Intangibles/Unstable Variables
Fredy Montero. Ricardo Salazar in the middle of the park as referee.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper-
Ousted, 32, is a veteran ‘keeper and has over 200 matches in Danish football. Over 100 of those with Randers FC, which competed twice in the Europa League during his time there.

Defence-
Nerwinski, 22, is newly recruited out of UConn (NCAA). The New Jersey native played 72 matches at Storrs, scoring five times. He’s played only 10 MLS matches in his first year. It is my assessment that Nerwinski is cover for the injured Edgar.

Waston, 29, has 16 caps for Costa Rica and over 170 appearances as a pro.

Parker, 24, is a domestic product who played his NCAA football at St. Johns, he has played just over 60 games as a professional.

Harvey, 33, was produced by Strikers FC and UCLA (NCAA). He has nearly 250 matches in MLS experience, with over 150 of those played for Vancouver. Harvey earned three USA youth caps.

Midfield-
Jacobsen, 31, developed by California (NCAA), has over 200 matches of MLS experience. He had loan spells at both Lorient and Stabæk. He’s played nearly 50 times for Vancouver since his move there in 2016.

Tchani, 28, is a Cameroonian-born naturalised American developed by Beach FC and Virginia (NCAA) with over 170 pro appearances. He has earned caps for both United States and Cameroon. Tchani moved to Pacific Boulevard just this year after having played 130 times for Columbus.

Bolanos, 33, Developed by Saprissa. Played 170 times in Denmark and Norway. ? total MLS Matches for Vancouver. Bolanos has 74 caps and six goals for Costa Rica.

Reyna, 23, is a Peruvian international developed by Alianza Lima. After playing nearly 50 matches for Alianza he spent the next two years with RB Salzberg, this included loans to two other Austrian clubs and also at Leipzig in Germany. His tour in Austria and Germany saw him feature in 72 matches in all before his transfer to Vancouver this year. Reyna has six caps and two goals for Peru.

Techera, 25, is an Uruguayan national produced by Penarol and River Plate Montevideo. He played for River Plate (the one in Uruguay, not Argentine) 74 times scoring nearly 20 goals before his loan to BC Place. His move has since been made permanent and he has appeared 55 times for the ‘Caps scoring 14 goals.

Forward-
Montero, 30, We know him all too well. Success at his Colombian teams, then in Seattle, and then in Europe and China. His transfer fee to Sporting Lisbon totalled $2.75M. His transfer fee from Sporting to Tianjin TEDA was €5M. His career goals:matches ratio is over 36%. He is the most dangerous attacker in the Vancouver side.

Familiar Faces
Richey: This dude is Mister Seattle. Born in Seattle. Played for Tacoma Tide, Washington Crossfire, Puget Sound Gunners, and NCAA career at UDub. Add to this eight USA U-17 caps. ‘Caps defender, Jordan Harvey, played 12 times for the USL iteration of the Sounders in 2006. Why did we not sign him? Rosales played 86 times for Seattle Sounders FC scoring 12 goals. Montero played 119 times for the Sounders scoring 47 Goals and helped us win three US Open Cups.

Squads
Vancouver from: Ousted, Richey, Marinovic, Harvey, Waston, Seiler, Maund, Williams, Parker, Nerwinski, Levis, Bolanos, Jacobsen, Mezquida, Techera, Tchani, de Jong, Shea, Reyna, Teibert, Bustos, Ghazal, Davies, Rosales, Montero, Hurtado, Ibini-Isei.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Miller, Meredith, Nouhou Tolo, Marshall, Alfaro, Leerdam, Torres, Fisher, Svensson, Alonso, Roldan, Rodriguez, Lodeiro, Kovar, Mallace, Shipp, Delem, Wingo, Mathers, Dempsey, Adekoya, Morris, Bruin, Neagle.

Injury List
Vancouver –
OUT: Edgar (PCL & MCL), Laba (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: None.

Sounders FC –
OUT: Evans (back).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Neagle (ankle).

Discipline
None suspended for either side.

Fun Fact
In all the matches Fredy Montero played against the ‘Caps in a Sounders’ shirt he scored only four goals against them in the league. At the previous matchup where he wore Vancouver’s colours in April, he scored half that number in 15 minutes against us. Hardly the jolliest fun fact, but a fact nonetheless. Play up, Chad and Ramon!!!

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