The Vancouver Whitecaps will look to secure their place in the postseason on Sunday when hosting the Seattle Sounders at BC Place (6pm ET; Live on TV: FOX 13+, KUNS and Prime Video). The visitors are in the hunt to finish the regular season top of the pile in the west. Will either side get the desired result? Keep reading this preview with predictions and picks to find out.
The hosts, who’re in sixth position in the west, come into this fixture with a chance of finishing in the coveted top seven, and that’s thanks to some excellent recent form. They’re unbeaten in five, three of which they’ve won. Moreover, Marc Dos Santos’ men have been in fine form on their own patch of late, winning each of their last four. Such form should leave them feeling confident ahead of this fixture, even if they are going up against the best in the division.
As for the visitors, well, they too are fighting for something, though their prize won’t merely be a place in the play-offs. The Sounders have already booked their place in the postseason, but as they currently lead the division by a single point, Brian Schmetzer’s men are the frontrunners to pick up the Western Conference Regular season title. If the visitors are victorious then they will finish as the best team in the west for the third season running and will have picked up that honour in five of the last six seasons.
Whitecaps strong at home
If this fixture was the other way around and the Canadians were playing on the road, it would be hard to envisage them picking up a positive result, though since they are playing at BC Place, a home victory doesn’t seem so unlikely. After all, the Whitecaps have been one of the best at picking up points on home soil in this division, claiming 32 points from 16 fixtures. Only Minnesota United have collected more points at home in the Western Conference, and they’ve played an extra game.
Santos’ side have only lost four out of 16 in front of their own fans this season, while they’ve been particularly effective in terms of limiting opposition goals, conceding an average of just one per game. Only three teams in the west have bettered that.
Few teams travel better than the Seattle Sounders. In fact, no team in the Western half of Major League Soccer has collected as many travelling points as the Sounders, who average 1.88 points per game on the road. In either division, only the New England Revolution, who’ve already wrapped up the Supporter’s Shield, have claimed more away-day points than the team that will be trying to upset the party at BC Place on Sunday evening.
However, recently, Schmetzer’s men have taken their eye off the ball on the road, winning none of their last three fixtures away from the comforts of Lumen Field. They lost, somewhat disappointingly, away at Houston, before tying with the Rapids, which isn’t a bad result at all, though they reverted to disappointing when last seen away from home, losing by three goals to nil against an LAFC side that is a long way below them in the standings. If they are to secure the division title, then the visitors will need return to the performance levels that allowed them to win six out of seven on the road between July and September.
VWFC vs Sounders: What happened last time?
This won’t be the first time that the pair have met this season, nor will it be the second. Back In June, The Sounders and the Whitecaps played out a 2-2 draw at Lumen Field, while that venue was the scene of a resounding Seattle victory when the teams faced off again last month.
In each of those games, there was no shortage of attacking soccer played, while a plethora of scoring opportunities were created. It would be little surprise if Sunday’s game threw up lots of goals, especially as both teams have lots to fight for.
Goals to arrive in no small number
Both teams really need to go for it here, and that ought to lend itself to a high-scoring game. Given that their main division rivals both have seemingly easier tasks on home soil, the Sounders know that anything less than a win is likely to mean them finishing off top spot, while the hosts know that with three teams queuing up right behind them, their place in the top seven will be in severe danger if they come up short here.
At the current odds, ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ is difficult to oppose. After all, plenty of goals have gone in for Seattle on the road of late, with four of their last five travelling matches containing three or more, while much of the same can be said for the Whitecaps, who’ve been involved in games filled with at least three goals in each of their last three at home.
Throw in that the pair have already shared nine goals in two renewals of this fixture this season and goals become even easier to fancy, particularly since we are talking about two teams that have already produced expected goals numbers of 1.7 + 1.6 and 1.5 + 2.4 against each other this term.
Scotsman can hurt the Sounders
Ryan Gauld has made a big impact since his mid-season switch from Portugal, so much so that much of Vancouver’s forward momentum during the second half of the campaign can be put down to his inclusion. The creative, dynamic, attach-minded midfielder has only scored three goals in 17 appearances, but each of those three goals has come at this venue, plus he averages a pleasing 0.34 xG per 90 minutes, as well as 2.66 shots. Such numbers make the 25-year-old look a tidy bet to score at appealing odds of +400.
So these are the betting predictions for this MLS game preview, consisting of a couple of picks: