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After suffering back-to-back defeats on the road this past week, Vancouver Whitecaps will return home and try their best to dodge a third successive disappointment against Seattle Sounders FC. The hosts have won two, lost two, and drawn one of their last five MLS games. Three of those were played at the BC Place, and Vancouver Whitecaps dodged defeat in all of them, keeping a clean sheet in two.
There is a gap of nine points between these two teams, but Seattle Sounders FC’s record in the last five MLS games is exactly like Vancouver Whitecaps’ recent run. The Western Division leaders have never lost two back-to-back games so far and are coming to BC Place after a narrow loss against Austin FC earlier this week. In their previous away game last weekend, Seattle Sounders FC beat Houston Dynamo FC 1-0.
Considering the recent form, both sides are evenly matched, but the performance concerns of the Vancouver Whitecaps outweigh the ones of Seattle Sounders FC. Home advantage may not be enough for the hosts to keep the two-time MLS champions at bay.
Apart from the recent form, the history books also favor the visitors in this clash. The two clubs have met 34 times in the MLS. Vancouver Whitecaps have only won eight of those matches, while Seattle Sounders FC have emerged victorious on 17 occasions.
Nine games have ended in draws, and the most recent one came in the 2021 MLS season when the hosts held the two-time MLS champions at the BC Place. Last season, they did one better and clinched a 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders FC at the same venue.
In the reverse fixture earlier last season, Seattle Sounders thrashed Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0. Seven of the nine draws in this fixture have come at BC Place, where the hosts do not have an intimidating record against Seattle Sounders FC.
In 17 home games against Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps have only won four times. The visitors have won six times, and all other games have ended in a stalemate. While Seattle Sounders FC aim for a win at this juncture, just a draw would leave the hosts contented.
After finishing sixth in the 2021 MLS season and qualifying for the playoffs, Vancouver Whitecaps missed out on the same opportunity last season when they finished four points off the last playoff qualification spot in the Western Conference.
As things stand, Vancouver Whitecaps occupy the last playoff qualification spot. However, a hefty chunk of the season is still ahead of them. Focusing on the present, their aim will be to dodge a third defeat on the bounce when they face Seattle Sounders FC.
Home advantage may not be enough for the hosts to secure all three points, but the fact that they have not lost at BC Place since the opening game of the season will certainly be a morale booster. Vancouver Whitecaps have only lost just one of their six home games so far.
Right-back turned right-midfielder Julian Gressel has been a pivotal presence for Vancouver Whitecaps this season. The 29-year-old finished last season with six assists and two goals. This year, he is only two assists and a goal away from matching that tally.
Ahead of him, Pedro Vite can utilize his pace and link up well with Gressel on the right flank. The 21-year-old winger from Colombia has only scored one goal this season but has caused concern for opposition defenders on multiple occasions.
Despite being ninth on the table, Vancouver Whitecaps are leading the big-chances-created chart this season after creating 24 of them. However, the poor conversion of these big chances reflects in their goal tally of 16 in 12 games.
Considering the amount of chances they are creating, Vancouver Whitecaps should have had more goals in their tally and their goals-per-match average should have been much higher than 1.3. Most of these chances have come from the right flank via Gressel.
Last season was one to forget for Seattle Sounders FC after they finished 11th in the Western Conference. A drastic improvement in performance has been noted this season as they are emerging as one of the top contenders for the MLS title.
The visitors’ away form last season was disastrous, as they won only three out of 17 away games all season. This time, they have already matched that tally and could surpass it if they beat Vancouver Whitecaps at a venue where they have enjoyed much success.
They have the joint-best away form in the Western Conference after winning three, losing two, and drawing one of their six away games so far. They are currently sharing this record with St. Louis City SC.
In 13 MLS games this season, Seattle Sounders FC have kept seven clean sheets. No other side has kept more. They secured their latest shutout in the last away game against Houston Dynamo FC, during which Alex Roldan was in excellent form.
The right-back won eight duels and three tackles, nullifying all attacks coming down his flank. The center-back duo of Jackson Ragen and Yeimar Gomez has also been robust at the back, playing simple and accurate passes toward the middle third.
The right-flank sibling duo of Alex Roldan and Cristian Roldan has been quite stellar for Seattle Sounders FC this season. While Alex will be gunning to go against Vancouver Whitecaps in the next game, Cristian remains doubtful after his concussion in April.
The most recent injury blow came at the start of this month when Kelyn Rowe was ruled out till the end of June due to a knee injury. 19-year-old Cody Baker has replaced the left-back in the starting line-up. Raul Ruidiaz, who has scored two goals, will also miss the next match.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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