After bouncing back from a lopsided defeat, the short-handed Seattle Sounders will try to pick up another victory while staying unbeaten against one of their Cascadia Cup rivals.
The Sounders try to avoid their first loss in six games against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Seattle had won three straight before falling 4-0 at Los Angeles on May 26 but the Sounders quickly shook off that defeat in a 2-0 victory at Chivas USA last Saturday. Michael Gspurning posted his fifth shutout of the season after allowing the most goals of his career against the Galaxy, and Obafemi Martins scored his fourth goal in five games.
“We feel good about what we can do,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “The team is still very confident in their abilities. We know we laid an egg here last week (against the Galaxy). Today, they stepped up and showed their character.”
Martins was also given a red card in that win but had it overturned by an independent review panel Wednesday, giving him the chance to play in this game.
That’s a boost for Seattle (5-4-3) because it won’t have Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans and Mario Martinez available once again because of international duty. Shalrie Joseph is also wrapping up a two-game suspension, and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (thigh) and Steve Zakuani (sports hernia) are out with injuries.
Without those players, the Sounders welcome in the Whitecaps (4-4-4), whom they’ve beaten twice and tied three times. Seattle did not allow a goal in each of its final two meetings with Vancouver last season and recorded its first home win in the series, 2-0, on Aug. 18.
The Whitecaps, though, enter this game having found their scoring touch during a 2-0-1 stretch. Kenny Miller scored the tiebreaking goal late in a 2-1 victory in New York last Saturday, his first appearance for the Whitecaps since March 30.
Vancouver has tallied seven goals in its last three games after scoring nine times during a 2-4-3 start.
Miller, who has missed time with injuries, international duty and the birth of a child, will next try to help Vancouver win back-to-back road games for the first time in franchise history. The Whitecaps have recorded four victories in 41 all-time games away from home, and are 1-4-1 on the road this season.
“Our points total doesn’t match our quality of play,” coach Martin Rennie said. “We’ve had a number of games where we deserved more than we got. We’ve been in a lot of tough games, but the schedule may be turning.”
Seattle, meanwhile, is 2-0-2 in its last four home games.
Vancouver, though, won’t be nearly as short-handed as the Sounders for this trip. Only Darren Mattocks is away on international duty.