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October 9, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Sounders FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps, preview and prediction

Vancouver Whitecaps FC LogoSounders FC (15-9-6) vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (11-11-9)
Wednesday, Oct. 9, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV/radio: KONG 6/16, 710 ESPN Seattle (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Spanish TV/radio: THIS-TV (KOMO2), La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Juan Guzman

KEY WHITECAPS PLAYERS

F Camilo — I probably don’t need to do anything beyond posting this goal, but I will anyway. The Brazilian is second in the Golden Boot race with 18 goals (he had 17 in his previous two seasons combined). He has scored his team’s last four goals. He has four goals against the Sounders all-time (two this year). He has eight Cascadia Cup goals (five this year). He would be a top MVP candidate if the ‘Caps weren’t on the verge of playoff elimination.

D Jay DeMerit — He’s back. The former U.S. national team defender had missed most of the year with an Achilles’ injury, but he made his return four games ago and has played every minute since stepping back on the field. Vancouver is averaging less than a goal per 90 minutes with its captain back on the field. Though, this Green Bay, Wisc., native is yet to beat the Sounders in his three years involved in the Cascadia rivalry.

GK David Ousted — The Danish import has started the past 10 games, and already has a couple six-save performances in wins against San Jose and Montreal. He did have a pretty poor clearance Sunday against the Timbers, though, that led to a goal. Looks to be in the prototypical goalkeeper mold at 6 foot 3, though he’s got some big shoes to fill in games against the Sounders. Brad Knighton was amazing earlier this year with seven saves in a win over Seattle.

KEY MATCHUPS

Lamar Neagle vs. Carlyle Mitchell — With Eddie Johnson away on national-team duty, expect the hometown product to push up top where he has scored all eight of his goals this season. Neagle, a Federal Way native, has also scored all of those goals at home (including a game winner against the ‘Caps). Mitchell has been a bit of a late-season surprise having started the last five games and eight of the last 10. He even delayed a Trinidad and Tobago call-up to play in this one.

Osvaldo Alonso vs. Nigel Reo-Coker — These are two of the hard men in MLS, and neither team is looking forward to facing the other. Expect a crunching tackle or two. They might not clash head-to-head very often, but they’ll play a huge part in the flow of the game. Reo-Coker hasn’t necessarily had a free role in the defensive midfield spot these days; it’s been more of a three-man job with Jun Marques Davidson and Matt Watson, so we’ll see how that goes.

Desperation vs. urgency — The Sounders have gone three games without a win, but they might not be as desperate as the visitors. The Whitecaps could officially be eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday, so they’ll be giving everything they have. Seattle has its share of motivation, as well, being able to clinch its own postseason berth, clinch the Cascadia Cup and perhaps regain the best record in MLS (depending on how Sporting Kansas City does).

PREDICTION

When the Sounders at home, your first thought always has to go to a win. The team is on a 10-0-4 run at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle, though, is far from full strength. Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans are away with the national team. Zach Scott is suspended. Injuries are at least affecting the roles of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Steve Zakuani and Shalrie Joseph, among others.

I still think the Sounders fans will lift the team through this one, and a local favorite…

Sounders FC 2, Vancouver 1

SEA — Lamar Neagle (Marc Burch) 19′
VAN — Camilo (un) 46′
SEA — Lamar Neagle (Adam Moffat) 77′

*     *     *

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

| More in Preview and prediction, Sounders FC


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