July 5,2014(ISN) – VANCOUVER, BC – After suffering their first loss in over two months, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are looking to get back into the win column this Saturday when they host first-place Seattle Sounders FC at BC Place.
Here are three storylines to watch.
It’s been nearly two months since Steven Beitashour last suited up for Whitecaps FC. The 27-year-old right back had been away at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil with the Iranian national team, who were eliminated from the tournament last week.
But now Beitashour is back and could get the nod Saturday against Seattle. Prior to leaving for Iran’s World Cup camp, Beitashour had started each of Vancouver’s 10 matches. In those games, the ‘Caps posted a 4W-2L-4D record.
Seattle could also receive a boost from some World Cup returnees – Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin could be available after the U.S. national team was knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday.
Man in the middle
In Vancouver’s last meeting with Seattle, midfielder Gershon Koffie took his game to another level. Not only did the Ghanaian find the back of the net from 40 yards, he also set new career-highs in touches (95), shots (8), and tackles (8).
After the match, Koffie told reporters he felt he needed to raise his game playing against his counterpart Osvaldo Alonso. Alonso, who leads Sounders FC in successful passes, passing accuracy, touches, and tackles, won’t be in action this weekend and neither will his midfield partner Gonzalo Pineda – both players are suspended due to caution accumulation.
Can Koffie and the ‘Caps take advantage?
Best of the best
As the old adage goes: to be the best, you have to beat the best.
And so far this season, Sounders FC have proven to be the best team in Major League Soccer. The Sounders have posted an 11W-3L-2D record thus far, good enough for 35 points. Heading into Week 17, that was at least 10 more points than any other MLS team.