Sounders FC (7-2-1) at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (5-3-2)
Saturday, May 19, 2 p.m., BC Place, Vancouver, B.C.
TV/radio: KONG-TV 6/16, 97.3 KIRO-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Spanish TV/radio: KOMO2, La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Kevin Stott
KEY WHITECAPS PLAYERS
F Eric Hassli — I think this goal speaks for itself. So does this one. That’s what the 31-year-old Frenchman can do. Big. Strong. Skilled. He’s got that swagger and confidence to try things, and occasionally brilliance comes of it (as linked to above). Coach Sigi Schmid called him a “horse” on Friday and he’ll be looking to keep on form.
F Sebastien Le Toux — The former Sounder is one of two players that’s played every minute this season for Vancouver. He has a team-leading three goals and an assist. While this is the first time he’s played Seattle as a Cascadia rival, he’s faced his old team before and to great success (one goal and three assists in four games with Philadelphia).
D Jay DeMerit — A lot of attention goes to the many weapons on offense, but 11 goals conceded is second best in the Western Conference. The 32-year-old captain has been right in the middle of it and even has a goal this season. Think he might be able to work his way back in the U.S. men’s national team?
Lee Young-Pyo vs. Alvaro Fernandez — “Their right back is good.” That’s from Sounders FC assistant coach Brian Schmetzer. “He’s good,” Schmetzer repeated for effect. The South Korean international has played in top teams and leagues around the world, and a few FIFA World Cups. He’ll be matched up against a talented left midfielder who also has World Cup experience. Should be a good one.
Fredy Montero vs. Martin Bonjour — Seattle’s DP forward scored twice in each of the Cascadia road games last year. He said he had similar success in rivalry games in Colombia and that a change in mentality is required for games like this. He’ll be matched up with the big Argentine center back, who was signed in January.
Sigi Schmid vs. Martin Rennie — This is a bit of a mentor-mentee relationship from when the two were coaching in Ohio from 2006-08 (Schmid with the Columbus Crew, Rennie with the Cleveland Stars of the USL Second Division). Schmid had some high praise Friday for Rennie’s work in turning the Whitecaps around from last year, and I’m sure the first-year coach would like nothing more than to best the savvy veteran.
I think this will be a fun one. Lots of energy in the stadium. Lots of excitement on the field. And, ultimately, lots of goals.
Neither team has been scoring lights out, but both have the talent up front to do so. I think this is the game is comes together for both. The Sounders are rested and ready to go with a four-pronged attack of Montero, Fernandez, Eddie Johnson and Mauro Rosales. Vancouver has an interchanging attack with a handful of stars.
Cascadia action didn’t disappointed in 2011 and I don’t think it will Saturday. Here’s how I see it playing out…
Sounders FC 3, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
SEA — Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales) 19′
VAN — Eric Hassli (Camilo) 33′
SEA — Osvaldo Alonso (pk) 42′
VAN — Sebastien Le Toux (pk) 61′
SEA — Fredy Montero (Alex Caskey) 89′
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Three of six MLSsoccer.com editors picked Vancouver, two picked Seattle and one picked a draw. What do you think? How do you see it playing out?