Time: 2:00 PM
TV: KONG 6/16
Half way through May and it has already been a long stretch. Through 4 games in May the Sounders have piled up a 3-1 record losing only to West leading Real Salt Lake. While the MLS and the rest of the world takes back seat to the UEFA Champions League Final of Chelsea vs. Bayern Munich the Sounders are looking to get back on track in the first Cascadia match of the year versus Vancouver.
If you were to ask the rest of the MLS which clubs had the most heated rivalries you would most likely hear a majority of people say the Cascadia rivalry of Vancouver, Portland and Seattle. Since the 1970’s the I-5 rivalry has been well alive through all competitions, and last year was the beginning of the MLS chapter of the rivalry. It came down to the last Cascadia game between the Sounders and Whitecaps at Vancouver and through some late game Fredy Montero heroics the Sounders were able to pull out the Cascadia Cup. The Cascadia Cup is one of the most coveted in the Northwest as it is a fan created trophy that gives ultimate bragging rights for the team in possession of the cup. The start of that defense is against the re-born Vancouver Whitecaps.
Last season, while still an expansion side, the Whitecaps were the laughing stock of the MLS finishing near the bottom and having many internal problems from players to coaches and to the FO. This year though is a different story. They have a new coach, new players and a new sense of pride for their team. They picked up, a once Seattle favorite, Sebastien Le Toux who so far for the Whitecaps has accumulated a team high 3 goals and 1 assist. They have also retained star players Eric Hassli (who scored a wonder goal in Seattle last year), Camilio (Forward) and Davide Chiumiento. Through these four players the Whitecaps have a potent attack.
The pride though so far for the Whitecaps has been their defense, which has achieved 6 shutouts in 10 games. The only problem is that once they leak one goal, more are sure to follow as they have conceded 10 goals in the 4 other games. The key to their defense has been veteran goalkeeper Joe Cannon and newly acquired defender Young-Pyo Lee. Each one has started each of the 10 games this season. Through these two the defense is organized and keeps the flow of the game forward.
While many people dreamed of the top of the league with a win against Real Salt Lake it was an unfortunate drop from the clouds after the loss. Even though the result in the end says loss there were many positives coming out of the game. The first was that midfielder Alvaro Fernandez has finally come back from injury. The second was that the passing and opportunities created out of the midfield looked extraordinary. Finally the play of Bryan Meredith was once more outstanding in place of Gspurning. The bad news for the Sounders is that finishing on goal is was not there. On total, from all opportunities created, the Sounders forced 0 saves from Nick Rimando with 0 shots on goal. This is a serious problem if the Sounders want to be considered the best in the league. With a tough game on the road against another tough defense the Sounders need to prove that they can finish with the best in the league, and that is on Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero.
I see this being a well-fought game. While I see this most likely ending in a tie I really hate predicting ties, so I see Fredy Montero once again having a great game against another Cascadia foe. 2-1 Sounders.