MLS

Seattle Sounders v Vancouver Whitecaps: Sartini targets immediate response

By Sports Desk May 18, 2024

Vanni Sartini hopes a quick turnaround might help the Vancouver Whitecaps halt their skid as they visit their Cascadia Cup rivals, the Seattle Sounders, on the back of two straight losses.

Vancouver sit seventh in the Western Conference with 18 points from 12 games in 2024, though they have slipped down the standings by only taking two points from the last 12 available. 

They followed up a 3-0 defeat to Los Angeles FC by going down 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, playing half of that game with 10 men after Bjorn Utvik's sending-off.

The Whitecaps have little time to stew on that result before Saturday's derby clash, but Sartini hopes that could be a positive thing.

"It's really hard when you don't touch the ball at all and are down on the score, so what we did was really good – until the end everyone was running and giving 100 per cent," he said.

"I'm still a little bummed that we didn't score to make it 1-1, which we fully deserved.

"But we have time and other games, so we can immediately score points. We need to get back on the plus side on Sunday."

Seattle, meanwhile, sit 10th in the West with 13 points from 13 matches, having seen their revival halted by a 2-0 defeat at Real Salt Lake in midweek.

Boss Brian Schmetzer was left to rue basic defensive errors after that loss, saying: "In the first half, we let them out – one mistake. 

"Could we have played a little bit better? Sure. We showed some glimpses in attack, and then we fell asleep. It was two plays that killed us. We have to own it."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Seattle Sounders – Raul Ruidiaz 

Ruidiaz has scored eight goals in 11 career regular-season matches against the Whitecaps, one of four teams he's scored eight or more goals against in MLS. 

Only three other players have scored eight or more goals against one opponent since Ruidiaz debuted in MLS in July 2018.

Vancouver Whitecaps – Levonte Johnson

Vancouver have been shut out in back-to-back games against Los Angeles and the Rapids since their 2-1 Canadian Championship win over Cavalry earlier this month.

Speedy winger Johnson scored twice in that game and will be desperate to get a chance here.

MATCH PREDICTION – SEATTLE SOUNDERS WIN

The Whitecaps have won three of their last five meetings with Seattle (one draw, one defeat) after winning just two of the previous 22, including going 15 straight without a victory prior to this run.

Seattle have managed just one win in five home matches this season (three draws, one defeat) with their six home points tied for the fewest of any Western Conference team.

However, the Whitecaps have failed to net in three straight regular-season matches for the first time since August 2020, so Seattle are favourites to claim the bragging rights.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Seattle Sounders – 50.1% 

Vancouver Whitecaps – 22.3%

Draw – 27.6%

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    "It certainly wasn't one of our prettiest games, but we had solutions at times, but not all the time. We were hoping to manage our game a little better in possession, but we were unable to do that. 

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Austin FC – Sebastian Driussi

    The Austin captain will hope to mark his 100th appearance for the club with a goal, and is currently the top scorer for the Verde and Black's with five goals. 

    LAFC – Mateusz Bogusz

    Mateusz Bogusz has been involved in a goal in six consecutive league matches with four goals and two assists. 

    Only Carlos Vela (11 in 2019-20) has produced more in LAFC history, while only two players (Luciano Acosta - nine, Lionel Messi - eight) have had a longer streak in MLS this season.

    MATCH PREDICTION: LAFC WIN

    LAFC enter the contest as the favourites to emerge with the three points.

    Cherundolo's side have won eight consecutive matches in all competitions. The only MLS team to win nine straight matches outright (excluding breakaway shootout wins) in all competitions were the Seattle Sounders in 2018.

    The Black and Gold's are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Austin scoring at least three goals in each of those triumphs. 

    Austin's last victory over their opponents came in 2022, with the Texas side winning both of their MLS encounters with LAFC that season. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Austin FC - 27.6%

    Draw - 24.1%

    LAFC - 48.3%

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Inter Miami – Jordi Alba

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    Miami have won eight of their last 11 regular-season matches (D2 L1) following a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on Saturday. Since that run began in mid-April, Martino's side have managed 26 points and scored 28 goals – both league-leading figures.

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    The Crew have won four straight regular-season away matches for the second time in club history after a four-match run in August-September 2015.

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Inter Miami win – 37.4%

    Columbus Crew win – 36.3%

    Draw – 26.4%

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