Vancouver Whitecaps FC is set to defend their Cascadia Cup championship from last season when they welcome the always talented Seattle Sounders FC Saturday at BC place on Saturday afternoon. Whitecaps FC were able to secure their first trophy in MLS play last season in the three-team tournament that includes Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle and Portland Timbers. Whitecaps FC come into the weekend on a good run of form of late going unbeaten in their last four MLS contests which includes winning two straight games.
As per usual Seattle Sounders FC is in the midst of another strong season currently occupying top spot in the Western Conference standings with 25 points through 12 games played (8W-3L-1D) while Whitecaps FC sit nine points behind in fourth spot but with two games in hand (4W-2L-4D) 16 points through 10 games played. Sounders FC will be a little shorthanded on Saturday missing forward Clint Dempsey’s eight goals along with defender DeAndre Yedlin. Both players were named to the final US Men’s National team 23-man world cup roster on Thursday, and will be attending a training camp ahead of this summer’s tournament in Brazil.
The Whitecaps will also be without a couple of regular starters as right back Steven Beitashour is attending his native Iran’s world cup training camp, hoping to be selected to the final roster. Meanwhile regular starting striker Darren Mattocks is doubtful to play as he’s nearly fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered in a game three weeks ago against San Jose Earthquakes. Mattocks has taken part in just light running during training this week and it appears all involved don’t want to needlessly risk re-tweaking what can be a stubborn injury with plenty of games remaining in the season. Expect speedy young forward Erik Hurtado to start up front for the Caps while veteran midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker will likely start at right back in place of Beitashour. No other lineup changes are expected for Whitecaps FC.
Kickoff on Saturday afternoon goes just after 4 o’clock pm PT.
Of note: Whitecaps FC announced Thursday that striker Darren Mattocks has obtained his permanent residency status (green card) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. With the acquisition of his green card, the Jamaican native is now considered a domestic player in Major League Soccer and will no longer occupy an international spot on Vancouver’s roster.
As a result of Mattocks’ domestic status, the number of ’Caps currently occupying international roster spots stands at 10, leaving two spots vacant.
Mattocks joined Whitecaps FC as the second overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft in Kansas City, Missouri. Since arriving in Vancouver, the Jamaican forward has made 50 MLS regular season appearances, registering 12 goals and adding five assists. In 2012, Mattocks made one appearance in the MLS Cup Playoffs, scoring the ’Caps lone goal against LA Galaxy.
Internationally, Mattocks has made 13 appearances for Jamaica, registering three goals