July 21, 2018 / 3:28 AM / 10 months ago

Whitecaps attempt to get defense in order versus low-scoring Sounders

The Vancouver Whitecaps have had an adventurous week.

Jul 18, 2018; Montreal, Quebec, Can; Vancouver Whitecaps FC starting lineup before the game against the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

First, they participated in the opening game at D.C. United’s Audi Field, suffering a 3-1 defeat last Saturday.

Then a midweek match at Montreal in the first leg of the Canadian Championship, which ended in a 1-0 loss.

“It was a tricky (match) as we have a big game on the weekend,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson said.

That big game is Saturday afternoon against their Cascadia Cup rival, the Seattle Sounders, at CenturyLink FIeld.

The Whitecaps (7-8-5, 26 points) are led offensively by veteran forward Kei Kamara, who has eight goals and three assists. Midfielder Alphonso Davies, 17, scored his third goal of the season against D.C. United and has a team-high eight assists.

The biggest problem for the Whitecaps is they have allowed 40 goals this season, the most in the Western Conference.

That could make things interesting Saturday, as the Sounders (4-9-5, 17 points) have scored a league-low 16 goals this season.

But reinforcements have arrived for the Sounders, who are hoping another second-half run can vault them into playoff contention.

The Sounders are expected to unveil their new designated player, forward Raul Ruidiaz, who scored 40 goals over the past two years with Morelia in Liga MX.

“Offensively, I think I can help out by seeking out the spaces and be able to find them,” Ruidíaz said when his signing was announced.

The situation is similar to 2016, when the Sounders were struggling at midseason until the addition of midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro. They went on a run and captured the MLS Cup title.

“I’m aware that when Nicolás Lodeiro came over here, the situation of the club was difficult,” Ruidíaz said. “This is a similar time. I have the intention to come and provide all my support to be able to take the team to where it should be and be able to achieve titles.”

Ruidiaz was on the bench for last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Atlanta, but didn’t get into the match after defender Jordan McCrary was sent off in the second half with a second yellow card.

“Everybody wanted to see Ruidiaz out on the field and it would have put more of a twinkle in my eye if he would have come on and scored a goal against Atlanta, but obviously the game didn’t dictate that,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We needed to make the substitutions that we did and the fans will see him this weekend.”

The Sounders, who are undefeated in three matches this month, also will have midfielder Gustav Svensson (Sweden) and defender Roman Torres (Panama) back after the World Cup.

The Sounders are 8-7-5 all-time against the Whitecaps in MLS play, including 4-4-1 at home.

—Field Level Media

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