VANCOUVER — A streak will end when the Vancouver Whitecaps host the Seattle Sounders in a key playoff battle on Saturday.
The ‘Caps (11-7-9) are unbeaten in six league matches while the Sounders (12-5-9) are on a historic tear, winning their last eight games.
A single point separates the teams in the race for the MLS Western Conference’s last post-season spot, with Seattle holding the edge.
The Sounders are a strong squad, but the ‘Caps are ready to do whatever it takes to secure three vital points, said centre back Doneil Henry.
“We’re looking to ruin their party,” he said after training on Friday.
It’s not the first time this season that Vancouver has gone into a match looking to end another team’s streak, noted coach Carl Robinson.
On Aug. 11, they beat Portland 2-1, handing the Timbers their first loss in 15 games.
“Every game that we seem to play that’s of major significance is a streak buster,” Robinson said.
But no one expects Saturday’s bout with Seattle to be easy, especially coming off the FIFA international break week, the coach said.
“We will try to play spoiler,” Robinson said. “And it’ll be down to the players … Which players perform on the day after a break will probably be the team that wins.”
All week, Vancouver has been mentally preparing for a “defensive battle,” Henry said.
“Every game we go into now, the margins for mistakes are smaller, so I just want to go into the game committed and fight for the guys to the left and the right of me,” he said.
He noted that Seattle isn’t inclined to give up goals. The Sounders have allowed just 27 this season, the fewest in the MLS.
Vancouver has 52 goals against.
Whitecaps captain Kendall Waston said he and his teammates will be looking to stop Seattle’s key players from adding to that total.
They’ll be keeping an eye on Raul Ruidiaz, who has tallied three goals and assist since he signed with the Sounders in late June.
The Peruvian striker likes to get in the box and score, Waston said.
“He likes to go one-v-one and run through the channels, back through the defenders. So we’ve got to be aware of that,” he said.
The ‘Caps will also be watching out for midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, who’s been dangerous for the Sounders this season, putting up 11 points in the team’s last 11 games.
Lodeiro scored both of Seattle’s goals when the Sounders beat the Whitecaps 2-0 on …read more