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September 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, preview and prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Logo.jpgSounders FC (13-7-9) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10-12-8)

Saturday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m., BC Place, Vancouver, B.C.

National TV: NBC Sports Network (Arlo White, Kyle Martino)

Local radio: 97.3 KIRO-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)

Referee: Silviu Petrescu

KEY WHITECAPS PLAYERS

F Darren Mattocks — The speedy rookie has been the first name mentioned in Vancouver scouting reports this week primarily due to his game-changing speed. He was a terror to the Sounders back line in the first meeting of the year (less so in the second) and was recently named the No. 1 player in MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 series. He’ll get his chances, but will he finish?

M Barry Robson — The designated player will be playing his first game against Seattle. He hadn’t arrived yet for the game in May and was famously suspended for the second game at CenturyLink Field (the announcement came hours before kickoff). He came by way of Middlesbrough, which should be an indication of his talent level.

D Jay DeMerit — The captain in the back has already suffered some disappointment to a Seattle team this week (the longtime Green Bay Packers fan wasn’t thrilled with how Monday Night Football ended). He’s been healthier than he was last season, which has helped steady the Vancouver defense. He’s played at the highest level, so he should be up for a big game.

KEY MATCHUPS

Christian Tiffert vs. Gershon Koffie — If Seattle’s DP gets a hold of the game in the attacking third, the Sounders will be in good shape. If Tiffert has a quiet day, it will most likely be due to Vancouver’s underrated defensive midfielder. Koffie was involved in a lot of extracurriculars last game, too, with some fisticuffs with Osvaldo Alonso and a flying kick to Andy Rose’s chest.

Camilo vs. Adam Johansson — The Brazilian playmaker has had good success against the Sounders, with two goals in the last three games in the series. He can feature all over the field — anywhere in midfield and up front — but I’ll guess he’ll be over on the left. There he’ll face off with the Swedish right back, who I think will be motivated to bounce back from a tough game vs. San Jose.

Playoff motivation vs. playoff motivation — For the first time in a while, Seattle is looking up at teams other than the Earthquakes in the West, and the Sounders will hope to make the most of their game in hand. Vancouver is still holding onto fifth, but just barely after an 0-5-1 streak. Who will want it more?

PREDICTION

As a I wrote earlier this week, the Sounders are about at full strength for the first time in a month, and I think that will show. Seattle is better than its 1-1-2 record in September and has had a full week to prepare for this one.

Don’t forget there’s also Cascadia Cup motivation in this one with Portland leading the way in that competition. I’m going to call upon a few others to help me with my prediction this time.

Sounders FC 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1

VAN — Darren Mattocks (Barry Robson) 29′

SEA — Brad Evans (Mauro Rosales) 62′

SEA — Fredy Montero (un) 77′

* * *

What do you think? How do see this one playing out?

COMMENTS

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