Both teams will be missing key players to international duty when the face each other at CenturyLink Field Saturday nightNEXT GAMESaturdayVancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders7 p.m., CenturyLink Field, TV: TSN; Radio: TSN 1410 AMKEY MATCHUPBrendan McDonough vs. Handwalla Bwana
New Whitecaps centre-back Brendan McDonough got his first start against Dallas on Wednesday, and figures to keep track of Seattle midfielder Handwalla Bwana on Saturday.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Whitecaps’ rookie centre-back got his first start Wednesday and didn’t look the part of a second-round MLS SuperDraft pick, ranking among the team’s defensive leaders before being substituted for Lucas Venuto.McDonough will get tested by the Sounders’ midfielder, who is superb at attacking off the hop — he leads the team with 1.6 dribbles per game — but that’s about it.Bwana’s not the best passer — his 72.3 accuracy is lowest among field players — and rarely wins aerial battles or scores, with just one goal on the ledger this season. McDonough showed good positional awareness and poise on the ball in Wednesday’s game, but with a packed house expected at CenturyLink Field for a rivalry game, it will be his first exposure to a hostile environment.FIVE THINGS TO WATCH1. Short turnaround, short benchThe Whitecaps handled the gaping holes on their bench from players missing to international duty and injury well on Wednesday against FC Dallas, but they’re not the only ones short-handed.Seattle is missing Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz at the Copa America, where Lodeiro’s Uruguay and Ruidíaz’s Peru met in the knockout round Thursday. Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan are also away with the U.S national team on Gold Cup duty.“Creative can mean different things,” said Seattle coach Brian Schmezter, when asked how he was going to handle the absences. “We can get creative with the lineup.“There’s certainly some fluidity to the starting lineup for Saturday against Vancouver. All those things we have to prepare for. If they don’t happen, (we) will be prepared for the game plan and how we plan on getting a result against Vancouver.”
Andy Rose, seen battling Colorado Rapids’ Kei Kamara in a June 15 game, returns to Seattle where he appeared for the Sounders in 82 games.
Ben Nelms /
The Canadian Press
2. Rose returns to rootsAndy Rose returns to Seattle for the first time as a member of another MLS team. The Whitecaps midfielder/centre-back played there from 2012 to ’15, scoring five goals and adding seven assists in his 42-start, 82-appearance regular-season tenure.After Wednesday’s game, Rose was more concerned with shoring up his team’s defensive play — the two goals they surrendered against Dallas came after defensive miscues — than his impending return to Seattle.“We have to digest this one and go back and look at the mistakes we made, look at the goals they scored. Find areas of the game we could’ve been better,” he said.“Seattle’s a difficult team to play away against. We got a good point at home against them earlier in the season and we need to find a way to continue to not get beaten, but to turn some of these draws into wins.“We go there with a certain mentality; we really want to get points out of this road trip and we look forward to it.”3. Hostile territoryThe Caps have lost in Seattle each of the past two seasons, being outscored 7-0 in two regular-season games and one fateful playoff date, and only LAFC (7-0-1) and Houston Dynamo (6-0-3) have better home records than the Sounders (6-0-2) this season. Seattle returns home for the first time in six weeks, having gone 0-3-1 on the road while new turf was laid at the Clink.“I don’t know if I’ve gone this long in my career without a home game. It’ll be nice. It feels like it’s been forever,” said Seattle midfielder Harry Shipp, whose team will honour retiring centre-back Chad Marshall — the only player to win defender of the year three times — in a pre-game ceremony.“It’s tough,” he added of the long layoff. “You always want to play games, and it’s tough having this long between them; it’s hard. You have to find little goals for yourself every week.”The last time the Caps beat the Sounders at home was in May 2016, when Pedro Morales had a penalty-kick brace in a 2-1 victory.4. Cascadia CupThe Whitecaps are the only squad to have won back-to-back Cascadia Cup titles (2013/2014), and they’ll look to torpedo Seattle’s hopes of doing it this year. The Caps lead the standings with four points, having beaten Portland 1-0 in May and playing the Sounders to a scoreless draw in March.The Timbers — currently languishing in 11th in the West with a 5-8-2 record — have yet to face Seattle this year, but visit the Sounders on July 21.5. Open for businessAfter falling behind 2-0 for the second straight game Wednesday, Vancouver roared back in the final 10 minutes with two goals from open play, and now have 13 open-play goals this season — 20th in MLS.Striker Fredy Montero had three glorious chances to score, but it was Yordy Reyna and Lucas Venuto who buried their chances, scoring in the 80th and 94th minutes respectively.PREDICTED STARTING XIsWhitecaps (3-5-2)Reyna — MonteroAdnan — Inbeom — Erice — Felipe — NerwinskiGodoy — Rose — McDonoughGoalkeeper: MacMathSounders (4-2-3-1)DhillonJones — Rodriguez — BwanaShipp — SvenssonTolo — Campbell — Abdul Salaam-LeerdamGoalkeeper: FreiSICK BAYWhitecaps: (Jasser Khmiri, David Norman Jr.m Joaquin Ardaiz; (Int’l) Derek Cornelius, Doneil Henry, Max Crepeau, Russell Teibert, Lass Bangoura.Seattle: D Kim Kee-hee (left knee pain); (Int’l) Nicolás Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan.firstname.lastname@example.orgCLICK HERE to report a typo. Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com.