Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s game between the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The 2022 Major League Soccer season pits two Pacific Northwest rivals against each other for the first time Seattle Sounders host of Vancouver Whitecaps at Lumen Field on Tuesday.
It will be the second edition of the Cascadia Cup this year as both teams are within striking distance of the playoffs, with the Caps and Rave Green currently one and two points behind Houston Dynamo by that finishing position.
After 12 games in the league, we are yet to see the best from the Seattle Sounders, who have had their worst start to a regular season since 2018 and have only 16 points so far.
Their CONCACAF Champions League triumph forced managers Brian Schmezer juggling his line-up and changing formations, although they seem to be improving with every game.
The MLS campaign is the only competition they can compete in this year and with games in hand for every team in the league plus another four home games this month, there’s a huge opportunity for The Rave Green to regain control the western conference.
Seattle has already conceded 16 goals this year, nearly half its total from the 2021 regular season (33), though only five of those goals have come at Lumen Field.
Even if they haven’t always played as well as expected up to this point in the domestic season, the return of numerous important figures has made a big difference.
Raul Ruidiaz has struck the winning goal in his last two wins after missing the first four games of the regular season, dramatically changing the Sounders’ fortunes.
Among the many things that make them a challenging side is their ability to make smart tactical changes while releasing their wide players into space, often creating numerical advantages.
It has rarely looked pretty, however Vanni Sartini won’t care as his whitecaps have dug their way out of the Western Conference basement and won three of their last four MLS affairs.
Vancouver have never qualified for the postseason in back-to-back campaigns since 2014 and 2015, although their current points streak sees them battling for another playoff spot this year after falling far from that pace early on.
The last three winning goals have come from the penalty spot, two of them in the final moments of a game, including earlier this month when they beat Real Salt Lake (2-1).
Sartini can be happy with his side’s results of late, but he hasn’t been happy with how much his players have struggled to win tackles in midfield, as those struggles have put enormous pressure on their defense on a number of occasions.
That pressure was often too much for their defenses, as the Caps have conceded 24 goals that year and conceded multiple goals in all but one away game.
They did well against some of the league’s top sides, beating Dallas and RSL (2-1) while also drawing New York City FC (0-0).
That being said, Vancouver doesn’t have an excellent track record in Seattle, not having won in their last six visits to the Emerald City, with the most recent triumph coming in 2016 (2-1).
Form of the Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer:
Form of the Seattle Sounders (all competitions):
Vancouver Whitecaps Major League Soccer Form:
Form of the Vancouver Whitecaps (all competitions):
Jordan Morris and Ruidiaz lead on points for Seattle after scoring three goals each in that national campaign Freddy Montero scored nine goals for Sounders and ex-club Vancouver Whitecaps in the Cascadia Cup.
Alex Roldan grabbed his third assist of the season in their previous encounter and carried him to a tie Nicholas Lodeiro for the team lead as the two of them replaced Kelly Rowe and Jackson Ragen in the starting XI against Charlotte FC.
Joao Paulo remains out of the lineup due to a cruciate ligament rupture while Christian Rollan has scored two goals and two assists so far in 2022.
Cap’s leading scorer Luke Cavallini scored his 17th international goal for Canada last week and helped them win 4-0 against Curacao in the CONCACAF Nations League.
That goal now puts him level with his Vancouver team-mate Tosaint Ricketts for finishing fifth all-time for the national team while trying to secure a place in the World Cup squad in November.
Ranko Veselinovic and Ryan Gauld both scored in their previous wins against Claret and Cobalt, while Gauld was the hero the last time his team faced Seattle, scoring a first-half equalizer to help his side earn a place in the secure playoffs, and The Rave Green drew 1-1 at BC Place Stadium.
Your big signing Andres Kubas could make his debut for Vancouver on Tuesday after moving to Ligue 2 from Nimes while several Caps players are still injured, including Cristian Dajome (right thigh strain), Thomas Hasel (left hand) and captain Russel Teibert (right eye).
Seattle Sounder’s possible starting lineup:
Free; A. Roldan, Andrade, Arreaga, Tolo; Rowe, Russak; C. Roldan, Montero, Morris; Ruidiaz
Vancouver Whitecaps Possible Starting Lineup:
croppers; Godoy, Veselinovic, Nerwinski, Blackmon; Raposo, Berhalter, Owusu; Gaul; White, Caicedo
We say Seattle Sounders 2-0 Vancouver Whitecaps
The Whitecaps haven’t won a straight regular-season away game since 2018 and haven’t accomplished much away from home, despite winning their previous game as visitors 1-0 against Sporting Kansas City.
On the other hand, Seattle are starting to find more rhythm and while they’ve been a little inconsistent lately, their attacking quality should be able to push through on this one if need be.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our experienced tipster partners at Sporita.com predict a home win in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their tried and true football tips.Home win: data